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

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dire Warnings

People ask me, "Fred, why do you even bother checking in with bro. Cloud?" I say, "Because its FUN! and educational."

From the Way of Strife ... I mean Life, Friday Church News Notes for January 23, 2009, comes this hand-wringing warning (note my emphasis in blue):

A WARNING ABOUT THE GROWTH OF CALVINISM (Friday Church News Notes, January 23, 2009, www.wayoflife.org fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - The following is from a reader in California: “I am thankful to our Lord for your distinct Biblical opposition to Calvinism. I am even now re-reading a piece of yours titled ‘Calvinism’s Proof Text Examined.’ I thought that you might appreciate any information which further confirms your views that Calvinism is a threat to Biblical churches. To whit, my family and I just left a church which we attended for a year having only recently discovered that it was Calvinist. The pastor at this church is from Master’s Seminary. Master’s is cranking out Calvinists faster than even the SBC. John MacArthur has become increasingly Reformed notwithstanding his eschatology, and more worldly I may add. I cite the ‘Resolved Conference’ for youth as evidence of both. The conference is hosted by Grace Community Church, in Palm Springs. It features Mr. MacArthur, John Piper and C.J. Mahaney, etc. Succinctly, it is a Reformed rock concert, a sanitized equivalent of your average collegiate spring break. ... It has a following of thousands of young, and not too young, people.”

When I was deciding to come to Master's seminary way back in the 90s, the draw for me was the fact Master's was passing out Calvinism degrees faster than congress is handing out money. We memorized 5 sermons, each one covering the individual points of Calvinism. And I added a bonus sermon to my collection just on the subject of God's sovereignty. And I certainly was eager to join that Reformed Calvinist Burning Man festival in the desert above the Salton Sea otherwise known as Resolved. We learn all sorts of Calvinist rock music and hurl ourselves at each other in the Calvinist mosh pit.

In reality, the true problems for churches are not Calvinistic pastors preaching the doctrines of Grace. Sure there have been Calvinist pastors who have caused problems in a local church. I would even add, graduates from Master's have been trouble making pastors in a church.

But from the testimony of people I have encountered over the last decade or so who are graduates from Master's, or any other Calvinistic leaning seminary, the biggest problems are not faithful men who happen to be Calvinist. You know, those men who pour themselves into serving their church and feeding them the Word of God.

No. It is those people like this gossiping email writer. That handful of spiteful, unregenerate congregates who probably have never been correctly taught the Bible before, who react angrily to a pastor who teaches a lesson from a biblical passage that takes away their false belief in radical autonomy and the control they believe they have over their eternal destiny, and places it squarely in the hands of God alone. It is these members who begin a gossip campaign to smear the pastor's reputation which eventually results in the church being split or the pastor run out of town altogether.


And the bulk of these sinful agitators are emboldened in their strife by the bad teaching found at bro. Cloud's website pertaining to Calvinism.

And to think this one person has the gall to send an email complaining how it is the Calvinists messing up the church.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gay "Christian" FAQS [2]

Continuing with answering some of the "frequently asked questions" I have received concerning my series answering gay "Christian" apologetics.

The Bible names many things as being an abomination to God. Eating certain animals as food and wearing clothes mixed from two different fibers, for example. Modern day evangelicals seem to be picking and choosing which "abominations" they want to reject and accept. So, why do they have no problem eating shellfish, but have a problem with gays?

This question is drawn from the lists of regulations recorded specifically in Leviticus and Deuteronomy that were implemented by God in order to keep the people of Israel culturally and morally separate from surrounding pagan nations. Throughout the book of Leviticus, for example, God tells His people what is to be considered an abomination to them. Some of those "abominations" are particular animals declared unclean by God (Leviticus 11), and specific sinful behaviors like idolatry and homosexual practice (Leviticus 18, 20).

Advocates for a homosexual lifestyle seize upon what they mistakenly view as an inconsistency among Bible-believing evangelicals. They argue evangelicals who claim to believe the Bible is God's Word are hypocrites if they openly eat from the unclean animals listed as being an abomination, while at the same time condemn homosexual practice which is also called an abomination in the very same biblical book.

Interestingly, even conservative groups who would be against gay marriage often steer away from the Bible as the source for their objection of gay marriage simply because of this falsely perceived contradiction. Obviously we live in modern times where no one except maybe traditional, kosher keeping Jews recognize the food laws in Leviticus. Thus, it is believed that building a case against gay marriage from biblical passages containing regulations which were relevant only to Jews 1400 years before Christ will only serve to unnecessarily shackle any argument against the gay marriage agenda for our day.

However, these objections are built upon some faulty notions.

Let us first consider the word abomination. The English word abomination as found in the OT Torah is translated from two primary Hebrew words, (sqs) sheqets and (t'b) to 'ebah. Both words have the general idea of something detestable, loathsome, or abhorrent. Both words are also used interchangeably with reference to those things considered an abomination to people. For example, the Jews were considered an abomination (to 'ebah) to the Egyptians (Gen. 43:32), where as the unclean animals listed in Leviticus 11 were to be an abomination (sheqets) to the Jews.

But, the word to 'ebah was used by the Hebrews for the highest degree of abomination, or that which offends the religious sense of the people [International Standard Bible Encyclopedia vol. 1]. That is because to 'ebah is used exclusively to describe those people, things, or acts detestable to God because they are contrary to His holy nature.

An important distinction to notice between these two words is the penalty suffered for one who commits sheqets as opposed to one who commits to 'ebah. A person who commits an abomination (sheqets) by touching an unclean animal would be ritually unclean until the evening (Leviticus 11:24 ff.). In other words, the person would not be able to participate in religious services for a brief period of time and in some cases had to go through a series of purifying rituals. However, one who commits an abomination (to 'ebah) violated the character and nature of God and would receive the death penalty. That is exactly what we have described in Leviticus 20:13 of a man who has sexual relations with another man.

Walt Kaiser lists at least 16 violations of the law which could result in the death penalty [Toward an Old Testament Ethic, p. 91]. Those violations could be grouped under four headings:

1) violations against the image of God in man: murder, kidnapping;
2) sexual sins: unchasity, adultery, rape, incest, bestiality, homosexuality;
3) rebellion against one's parents and civil authorities;
4) and high handed sin against God Himself: blasphemy, idolatry, profaning the Sabbath, false prophecy, practicing witchcraft and magic.

A couple of things to note from the penalty of committing to 'ebah:

First, there most certainly is a distinct difference between eating shellfish and pork and engaging in homosexual behavior. Though Leviticus 11 declares unclean animals as being an abomination for the people of Israel, a person would not be put to death for handling a catfish. The severity of the penalty demonstrates the severity of the sins listed in each of those 4 groups. Those sins are a direct act against God's person and holiness. Hence, it is wildly inaccurate to equate the abomination of homosexuality with the abomination of wearing clothes made from two different fibers.

Secondly, this clear distinction is the reason why the Leviticus 11 clean and unclean animal laws can be laid aside in the NT, yet the condemnation of homosexual behavior remains an abomination. That is because the food regulations were only meant for a specific group of people, the theocratic nation of Israel in order to keep them separated from the other pagan nations surrounding them. It is also the reason why God can end the food laws after the coming of Christ (Peter's vision in Acts 10). There is no longer a specific theocratic nation of Israel God has established as His unique people.

The abomination of homosexual sin, however, transcends both testaments, because it is a sin that violates God's holy character. Whereas the purity laws governing the nation of Israel can come to an end, God's holiness always remains and will never come to an end.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

...and a sensible meal

Men's Health is one of those vanity magazines that is advertised as talking about men's health, but in reality promotes personal narcissism, the worship of an unrealistic body image, and sex tips for guys. It's sort of a male bimbo equivalent to Redbook. Or should I say "him"bo?

At any rate, they list the top 20 worst possible foods any person could eat, let alone a chiseled cut, sinewy looking dude who is taking a break from his daily workout routine.

What I found amusing is how the list carries on as if the same people eat this type of food everyday. I don't know, maybe there are some who do, but take what is listed as the worst food in America, Outback Steakhouse's Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing. It weighs in at a whopping 2,900 calories! Even if you split this between 3 friends, declares the author, you are still eating a meal's worth of calories! Good grief. I maybe eat Aussie Cheese Fries or some other similar appetizer maybe once a year if that, and when I do, I take a handful, because I am sharing it with a large group of people. Sure, perhaps there are guys downing an entire plate of Aussie Cheese Fries, but they usually have other personal issues needing to be addressed along with their diet.

There are many ridiculous examples like that one.

The Carl's Jr. Double Six Dollar Burger is supposedly 1,500 calories. But what normal person insists on eating a giant double cheese burger? An 18 year old high school linebacker who will run the calories off in the afternoon practice? When I eat at Carl's, which is probably once every other month, and I happen to be hankering for a 6 dollar burger, I get the single patty. Just removing the one patty and slice of cheese will reduce this thing 600 or more calories.

Even more amusing is the substitution they suggest for the 6 dollar burger: The low carb 6 dollar burger. For those who are deprived of Carl's Jr. restaurant in your community, the low carb burger is a meat patty wrapped in lettuce.

It tastes like crud.

P.F. Chang's is another place mentioned on the list. Their Pork Lo Mein entree has 1800 plus calories. What the list doesn't tell you, however, is that the Pork Lo Mein is probably 18 bucks a pop and the meal could serve 3 people! When I have the honor of eating at P.F. Chang's, which in this case is maybe once every 4 years or more, my wife and I attend with a group of folks who order 3 or 4 main dishes which we share with each other and in many instances there have been left overs.

In honor of this list, I need to treat myself to a Worst Food's day. (If my wife will let me).

I will begin breakfast with a stack of Bob Evan's Caramel Banana Pecan Cream Stacked and Stuffed Hotcakes. Containing 1540 calories.

Then for lunch I will stop by Quizno's for a large Classic Italian sub containing 1510 calories.

Take an afternoon nap...

And then for dinner, pay a visit to Macaroni Grill for Spaghetti and Meatballs with Meat Sauce coming in at 2430 calories.

And if I have room for dessert, I will walk across the parking lot to Chili's for their Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream which is 1600 calories.

Total, that would be 7,080 calories just for the one day.

Of course, I can always go for a long walk in the morning.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Cosmic Referees

Jerry Bergman is one of my favorite science writers from a creationist perspective. A lot of his articles are primarily published in the literature of the Creation Research Society. One of my absolute favorites was an article he wrote exposing the outright fraud and corruption perpetrated by Darwinian field researchers in order to be recognized first by their so-called academic peers. He documents titanic battles between personalities that sometimes resulted in fist-to-cuffs breaking out. The article can be read in this edition of Creation Matters, Controversy in Paleoanthropology.

At any rate, the first article for the 2009 Answers Research Journal went on-line this week and it is an article by Bergman exploring the intolerance among modern day cosmologists who censor anyone of their own who would dare question the big bang theory of cosmological evolution. Oddly, it is not non-theistic, anti-supernatural Darwinists going after intelligent design proponents or those rogue young earth creationist. In many cases it is evolutionists going after fellow evolutionists who go "apostate" as it were by postulating alternative cosmological models to the big bang. It makes for some amusingly compelling reading. The article also provides a bit of an introduction to big bang theory for the uninitiated out there in the world.

A Brief History of Intolerance in Modern Cosmology

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gay "Christian" FAQS [1]

Since I began addressing the apologetics put forth by the so-called gay evangelicals, I have received many emails from folks asking me to expand upon some of the things I had written in response to their arguments.

I wanted to compile a list of the most "Frequently Asked Questions" I have received over the last year or so since engaging gay "Christian" apologetics.

Why do you put the word "Christian" in quotes when you describe gay "Christian" apologetics?

Well, quite simply I do not believe a person can be a Christian and a practicing homosexual. A person is seriously deluded if that individual believes he or she can be submitted to the Lordship of Christ and promote a lifestyle that is clearly condemned in scripture as being a deviate sin against God's holiness and created order. Christ is Lord over all areas of a person, including his or her sexuality, and He has revealed direct guidelines as to how a man and a woman are to express their sexuality in marriage to a partner of the opposite sex.

Moreover, God has revealed through the pen of Paul that deviant homosexual activity is a way of life from which a person is in need of salvation. He wrote to the Corinthian Christians "that such were some of you" of those in the congregation (1 Cor. 6:11). Paul goes on to speak of former homosexual practitioners in the Corinthian church who no longer lived that lifestyle. Thus, there is a contrast here, along with a biblical principle of spiritual living. That being, the former life of practicing homosexuality was contrary to those who participate in the Kingdom of God and a Christian puts off old ways of living and puts on new ways of living in light of the believer's new identity with Christ's Kingdom.

More specifically, I don't believe a Christian can engage in the gay evangelical propaganda efforts of flagrantly twisting all the biblical texts condemning homosexuality so as to make them teach an entirely different lifestyle than what God has conveyed regarding human sexuality. Though gay apologists are not altering the physical text by changing words, they are certainly re-interpreting them by pouring alternative definitions onto words that they claim affirms homosexual orientation and behavior, rather than judging it. So, when I use quotations around the word Christian, I am recognizing there are individuals claiming the name of Christ as their own and calling themselves "Christian," yet they are advocating a way of living that is diametrically opposed to the very Lord they claim they serve. Hence, I am of the opinion that pretty much all those individuals are not Christians to begin with and fall into the category of those people Jesus says called Him "Lord, Lord" but in reality never really knew Him (Matthew 7:21).

What about a gay person's desires? How can you deny the homosexual attraction and feelings many of them claim has been a part of their life since childhood?

This question is often presented as if it is unanswerable and cannot be trumped at all. The "feelings" or "desires" are a result of one's sexual orientation which is something biological, and thus should never be changed.

Sometime ago I had a person write to me who has struggled with homosexual sin much of his life. He told me how he had since the early age of 5 been attracted to other boys. Being raised in extreme legalistic fundamental circles, such desires were certainly considered wicked. He had tried to over come them by thinking sexual thoughts toward girls, but to no avail. He had even tried marriage to a woman, but mustering up sexual interest in her was a challenge and they both eventually divorced over it.

His testimony was meant to convince me that his homosexual feelings went beyond just him "choosing" to live a gay lifestyle, but was a biological orientation which God had designed. His sexual attraction to men was something out of his control and thus unchangeable and it was unfair for heterosexual men to be allowed to act upon their sexual attractions, whereas he was forbidden.

The Bible provides for us some specific insight to the general nature of man, and it is from these insights I will frame a response to this line of reasoning. Allow me to offer a few thoughts:

1) I have always argued a person may well have homosexual desires from an early childhood. Yet those desires do not make them right, nor should they be stimulated by the person. That is because our desires come from our hearts, and the scriptures declare the heart of man is sinful. The scripture describes the heart as the inner person, the seat of a person's volition and being and what orients the person in a specific direction.

There are some Christians who mistakenly believe their desires and passions are distinct from their heart, as if the two are non-related. Additionally, they divide one's body, or biological make-up, from this spiritual part of man. Yet the heart and body function together as a whole. The sinful heart does influence the bodily desires. Sin has put our physical bodies under the corruption of death, resulting in disease and eventually physical death. So to, death's corruption can certainly impact our desires which will in turn impact our attitudes and behaviors. Jesus affirmed as much when He told how our sinful defilement does not come from sources outside of us, but from the outworkings of our own sinful heart (Mark 7:20-23). The outworkings of that heart is expressed in a person's thinking, actions, and repeated behavior, and I would also add, what the person desires or longs for.

2) Because all men and women are born with hearts oriented away from, and in rebellion against the Lord, it is only biblical to conclude one's desires, even from an early childhood, can be corrupted by that sinful heart. Paul writes of inordinate affections in Colossians 3:5 as a vice in need of being put off by the Christian. Other translations render the phrase "wicked passions" or "lustful desires." If, as the Bible teaches, sin impacts a person's mind, darkening his knowledge to live a life suppressing the truth of God (Rom. 1:18ff., Eph. 4:17ff.), sin can certainly be said to affect a person's desires as well. Paul when writing to Timothy spoke of those who were "lovers of themselves" and "lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" (2 Tim. 3:2, 4). Here we have an example of those who have strong desires, but their love and passions are oriented toward sinful things. So too is it with homosexuals who claim the power of their desires over their personal lives.

3) Assuming this person is telling me the truth about his early childhood, no matter how early in life a person may experience specific desires, such an experience does not establish those desires as being right. We cannot appeal to our experience as the standard of what we think is correct about life. Our hearts are easily deceived and led astray, and unless we look to an ultimate authority in which we are to orient our thinking, what we "experience" will lead us into error every time.

4) Again, assuming this person is telling me the truth about his childhood, and his "desires" are similar to others who claim they have always maintained a sexual attraction to someone of the same sex, I find it unusually he had a sexual attraction at such an early, pre-teen age. I wasn't sexually attracted to girls until much later in in my childhood development. In fact, sex is one of the last things on a pre-teen's mind unless the child was exposed to something which acted as a catalyst to awaken those desires. It can be anything inordinately sexual like exposure to pornography at a friend's house, or even worse, being molested by an older person. Thus I wonder if there is something more, or certainly unspoken, going on in these people's minds when they make these claims of same-sex attraction at an earlier age.

5) I believe Christ is a redeemer. His redemption is more than from the judgment and penalty of God's wrath, but it is also a freedom from the tyranny of sin. We have been freed from the power of sin so that we can live as we should before God. Roman's 6 tells us we have been ransomed from the wages of sin and death and the judgment of the old man, Adam, and are now made slaves of Christ and righteousness. Our identity is with the New Man, Jesus Christ. Additionally, the sanctifying work of the Spirit redeems our minds to think godly desires. Hence, I believe desires, over time, can be changed. That is what the renewing of our mind entails (Romans 12:1,2; Colossians 3:10).

One thing to keep in mind, though. Many Christians erroneously think when they are saved, all the sinful desires and temptations will go away in an instant. Yet they are disappointed to despair when such does not happen to them in their personal lives. Salvation leads to sanctification, and sanctification is a life long process of putting off old, sinful habits, and putting on new righteous habits. We don't get brand new minds, but we are given the spiritual freedom to now seek after righteousness and our duty as believers is to retrain our minds. Our minds have been warped by exposure to long periods of worldly thinking, and the process of sanctification is to shed off the worldly wisdom, to begin thinking biblically and according to a Christian worldview. That is the whole process of being submitted to Christ's Lordship.

What I see from those individuals - even those struggling with any sin in their lives, not just homosexual feelings - is only a mindset to put off. They seek legalistic, works oriented means to deal with their sinful desires. Submitting themselves to lists of dos and don'ts, or perhaps seeking an unbiblical means to deal with the sin, like what my emailer wrote about trying to change his homosexual lusts by lusting sexually after girls. What ever the case, when their futile efforts fail, they give up and resign to the notion they cannot have victory over sinful passions. Hence, some conclude that if they still have certain desires after all their efforts are exhausted to deal with those desires, then they must be okay. But Romans 8:2ff. tells us that dealing with sin according to the flesh will never work. One must have the Spirit of God indwelling him (Romans 8:9). One is not of Christ who does not have the Holy Spirit. Thus, those who are truly saved will press on to seeking righteousness because they have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them and so they not only put off sin, they put on righteousness.

Isn't the reaction by the evangelical Church of condemning homosexual feelings and forbidding loving, consensual marriage both anti-Christian and cruel?

This question is often presented from a false sense of persecution. The idea being this person wants to enjoy a sexually satisfying relationship, but his "orientation" is toward the same-sex, and so to forbid the person the privilege of fulfilling such a relationship in marriage to a same-sex partner is cruel, because he or she could never be sexually satisfied with an opposite sex partner.
But, the question is disingenuous, because no one is forbidding this person from being married. What is being forbidden is the allowance of distorting who God says can participate in marriage. As I have noted in two previous articles addressing human sexuality HERE and HERE, God is the one who has ordained marriage at the start of creation and He is the one who has limited the participants of marriage to being one male and one female. Any deviation from that model in the form of divorce, or polygamy, or homosexuality, would be against what God originally designed and intended for marriage.

Now, with some of these deviations God regulates them through laws. Divorce is the most common deviation, but those laws regulating divorce and remarriage are not meant to give affirmation of allowance to those other extreme deviations like homosexual behavior, but are meant to restrain man's hand from more sin that what already exists in the situation. Additionally, homosexuality goes beyond a sin in need of regulation to protect innocent people. What makes homosexual orientation and behavior sinful is the fact the sexual act is a perversion of God's natural order. Again, I go into more detail in another article in my series, but suffice it to say, men are not physically designed to have sexual relations with each other, as are women with each other. Because two men or two women have the same sexual components, they cannot engage in sexual intimacy in the fashion God designed.

So, does that mean a guy struggling with homosexual desires is to just find a girl and get married anyways even it he is allegedly repulsed with the idea of have sex with her? Well, not exactly. I know there may be well intentioned pastors who have counseled some young man to do such a thing as if that would solve his struggles with this sin, but marriage in this situation may not be an option at all. The wiser response is to disciple the young man to think through the sanctification process of his temptations and allow God's Spirit to retrain his mind to be in conformity with Christ's righteousness in the areas of human sexuality as revealed in scripture.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

ObamaNation

Let's meet the constituency

Don't forget here, too.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Morphing All the Presidents

Appropriate for the day...



Just as a quiz. Which president served two, non-consecutive terms?

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Monday, January 19, 2009

A Bit of Nostalgia

One of my volunteers sent this link to me...

A Look Back into History

It is a collection of early, pre-WWII colored photographs.
When I was a kid, I thought color in the world didn't start existing until the 1950s. I just thought everyone saw in black and white.

Any how, the colored images provide an entirely different perspective for that era.

By the way, sorry about the annoying Floyd Cramer music that keeps playing over and over if you view this in IE. Firefox seems to shut it off.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Crazy People and Their Wing Suits

A buddy sent me this video...

I recommend watching this in full screen if you can.

By the way, a wife and four little kids is what prevents me from even attempting this.



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Steppin' High and to the Right

David Cloud has done a tremendous redesign of his Way of Strife... I mean, Way of Life website.

As much as a like to poke at ole' Bro. Cloud, I honestly confess he has done a good job. His site looks really cool.

It was like he had some good hearted fundamentalist friends call a web page design company that's like the equivalent to TLC's "What Not to Wear." You know, that show in which they take a disheveled and frumpy chubby girl, give her a hair cut, throw out her ill fitting clothes in exchange for a few expensive outfits from Saks 5th Avenue, and a give her a complete make-up job in order to turn her into a beautiful swan.

In this case, however, rather than a frumpy girl we have Cloud's website. Gone is the Matt Drudge armaggedon news type. It has been traded in for a much more aesthetically appealing, easier on the eyes to read "marigold" looking font. Pictures have been added to some of the articles for emphasis. And a real addition is the categories organized in the side bar. He has a real selection to choose from.

But, just like taking an "ugly Betty," giving her a hair cut, some make-up, and a new dress, you truly can't really do away with the frumpy. So too here with this new site. You will still find the hysterical pronouncements of apostasy and compromise by such-and-such a person/church/Bible college, and the raising of Bro. Cloud's personal fundamentalist preference issues to the levels of biblical dogma. Comments have been conveniently turned off. Of course, I understand how comments can be an annoying distraction for anyone.

It's also a good thing for me, because I would be so tempted to spend my entire day leaving snarky remarks.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Khaaannnn!

It's worse than that, he's dead Jim.

Actor Ricardo Montalban died yesterday. The folks at IMBD didn't waste a moment changing his bio status either.

Scott McClare has a glowing obituary of the man and his career.

I rarely note the passing of Hollywood celebrities, but two things about Montalban struck me.

He was the one famous person I knew as a kid who shared my birthday of November 25th. I thought that was cool. I knew him primarily from his roles from Fantasy Island and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. So when I would read the entertainment section of the newspaper for that week in November, I always looked for his name.

Additionally, and most powerful, is his 63 years of marriage to the same gal.

63 years is a life time in itself. Even among my senior saint volunteers I work with weekly are there maybe 2 or 3 couples who have been married 60 years or more. Even more rare are those Hollywood celebrities who can boast such an praiseworthy accomplishment. That to me is something.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Designer Genes

A friend sent me this recent item from the Fox News website:

Life As We Know It Nearly Created in Lab

Livescience has a similar article

Let us dissect the rhetoric often missed by the unwashed public and otherwise glossed over and conveniently ignored by Darwinian propagandists.

Life "nearly created." Ponder this verb a moment. How can life, something defined already as "living," be "nearly created?" Is it not already by definition "created." I mean, it is living, right?

Ponder the verb once more - "created." Doesn't something "created" imply there was a "creator?" Hence, some individual who is a "creationist?" I thought that was the name Darwinianists are deathly afraid of being called.

In fact, design and - dare I say - creationist language is repeatedly used a number of other times in this story.

...scientists have created something in the lab ...

The researchers, at the Scripps Research Institute, created molecules....

...researchers synthesized RNA enzymes.... (The word synthesized meaning some one "put something together").

...the scientists then mixed different RNA enzymes...

Then the kicker,

Only when a system is developed in the lab that has the capability of evolving novel functions on its own can it be properly called life, Joyce said. In short, the molecules in Joyce's lab can't evolve any totally new tricks, he said.

Perhaps this is the "powerful and undeniable" evidence Mr. "profile not found" Bob insisted proves Darwinian evolution without a doubt as noted under my review post about that book on Genesis.

Hmmmm? A group of scientists designing enzymes in a lab that really can't do anything on their own is powerful and undeniable evidence?

I'm convinced.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Not Your Mama's Calvinism

The NYT did a lifestyle report on Mark Driscoll's ministry. Quite an interesting take from a worldling looking in.

Who Would Jesus Smack Down?

The line that caught my attention:

But what is new about Driscoll is that he has resurrected a particular strain of fire and brimstone, one that most Americans assume died out with the Puritans: Calvinism, a theology that makes Pat Robertson seem warm and fuzzy.

Driscoll has resurrected Calvinism? Ummm.... I was Calvinistic probably before Driscoll was even preaching in his church.

None the less, the authoress goes forth with the entire article writing about the theology of Calvinism, or at least how she sees it, and speaking to how Driscoll represents the new, restless Calvinists with an attempt to mesh the recent resurgence of Calvinism with how Driscoll does church.

As if the two are related beyond Driscoll's views on predestination.

A fascinating read for those of us who know better.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Coming to Grips With Genesis

Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth

A non-review review


A book I picked up over Christmas was a new publication through Answers in Genesis called, Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth.

I added it to my reading repertoire this last week, and although I have just finished the first three chapters, the material contained in it is so thoroughly enjoyable, and in my mind relevant for the Christian Church, I wanted to plug it as a must get for apologetic purposes.

The book is a collection of essays in honor of Dr. John Whitcomb who co-authored one of the pioneering books addressing biblical creationism, The Genesis Flood, with the late Henry Morris. The primary focus of the book is to establish Genesis as a literal historical record of God creating, and more importantly, WHEN He created. The age of the earth and 'deep time,' as it is described, is the main focus in this book and the discussions within the essays explain why not only is a young earth position the correct one to defend as a believer, but also why the time of creation is of such apologetic importance. In the prologue, the two editors, Terry Mortenson and Thane Ury, speak to the necessity of properly defending Genesis as an apologetic foundation in the debate against secular evolutionists. They write,

A number of leading evangelical authors have quite appropriately urged Christians to fortify the philosophical foundations undergirding their Christian worldview. Yet many of these same writers seldom address the age of the earth. ... Other theologians and apologists contend that the age of the earth is a non-issue, with the usual claim being that it is too divisive (the implied charge is that young-earthers are the polemical culprits), or that it is an impediment to those considering the truth claims of Christianity. ... A more serious accusation against young-earth creationists is that we are in some manner denying reality. ... Creationists are saying that a firm commitment to an infallible and inerrant Bible should be just that; firm, and not tossed to and fro by the latest in a long series of ever-evolving edicts from scientism. (pp. 15, 16, 17).

The contents include,

Two forewords: one by the late Henry Morris and the other by John MacArthur,

1) The Church Fathers on Genesis, the Flood, and the Age of the Earth - James R. Mook

2) A Brief Overview of the Exegesis of Genesis 1-11: Luther to Lyell - David W. Hall

3) "Deep Time" and the Church's Compromise: Historical Background - Terry Mortenson

4) Is Nature the 67th Book of the Bible - Richard L. Mayhue (An excellent critique of Hugh Ross's view of natural theology and his progressive creationist apologetics. Dr. Mayhue teaches at the Master's Seminary).

5) Contemporary Hermeneutical Approaches to Genesis 1-11 - Todd S. Beall

6) The Genre of Genesis 1:1-2:3: What Means This Text? - Steven W. Boyd (Dr. Boyd teaches Hebrew at Master's College and his material on the genre of the first 11 chapters of Genesis is powerful. For years, I have been a gadfly pestering him after I would hear him lecture to get some of his stuff in print. He has published in more academic publications, but here it is available in a readable layperson format).

7) Can Deep Time Be Embedded in Genesis? - Trevor Craigen (He teaches theology at Master's Seminary. I took a cosmology class from him).

8) A Critique of the Framework Interpretation of the Creation Week - Robert V. McCabe

9) Noah's Flood and Its Geological Implications - William D. Barrick (Dr. Barrick teaches Hebrew at Master's Seminary).

10) Do the Genesis 5 and 11 Genealogies Contain Gaps? - Travis Freeman

11) Jesus' View of the Age of the Earth - Terry Mortenson

12) Apostolic Witness to the Genesis Creation of the Flood - Ron Minton

13) Whence Cometh Death? A Biblical Theology of Physical Death and Natural Evil - James Stambaugh

14) Luther, Calvin, and Wesley on the Genesis of Natural Evil: Recovering Lost Rubrics for Defending a Very Good Creation - Thane H. Ury

The appendices include a biographical sketch of the life of Dr. Whitcomb, a section listing affirmations and denials essential for a consistent Christian and biblical worldview, and then a listing of recommend resources. Altogether the book is nearly 500 pages worth of excellent reading material. Some folks my find it daunting, and the essays are probably more "academic" than what one will find in a popular, "top ten" best seller sold at your typical retail Christian book store. However, the effort put into plowing through this book will produce much more lasting value for the believer.

Earlier this week, a co-worker and I were discussing what we thought were some of the major issues facing the Christian Church as a whole in the U.S. For example, both of us considered the recent assault of biblical family values by homosexual activists as just a precursor to future secular persecution limiting free speech and the freedom to proclaim homosexual behavior a sin. But, a good portion of our discussion was how we both saw the need to have a consistent, biblical based worldview when defending origins against a hostile, anti-theistic Darwinism which dogmatically advocates a total replacement of creation and desires to censor any opposition to their beliefs.

The Christian Church lacks desperately in this area of apologetics. We can certainly spread blame for this retardation among Christians, but the primary reason is that believers have abandoned the authority of a biblical Genesis to shape the foundation for their Christian apologetic. Instead, they have compromised with perceived "truth" claims of men who desire to define their reality without God. This book will be a much needed remedy for the diseased thinking of Christians in this fundamentally important area.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

AMAZING! MUST SEE!

I received an email today with that exact title in bold, hysterical font. Noticing it was from my precious wife, I opened it and scrolled down and in bold, red colored font the sentence read, THIS is without a doubt the MOST incredible video I have ever seen!!!

I am pretty sure that confident proclamation was not my wife's, but none the less, the three exclamation marks truly confirmed to me that I just had to click the link immediately to watch. Plus, the added exhortation that stated, "It doesn't matter who you are or how busy you are this is a MUST WATCH video."

By golly, I am certainly hooked now....

Child Drowning Prevention

Of course, I am of the opinion that these sorts of lessons would be utterly unnecessary if we simply took the hand wringing, Democrat nanny state approach and banned the construction of privately owned swimming pools. That's just me of course.

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Biff!!!

Dan Phillips, who is swiftly becoming my favorite of the Team Pyro triumvirate, directs us to a review of Bart Error-man's newest screed against the biblical faith,

God's Problem: Why the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question - Why We Suffer

The review is amusing and heartwarming all rolled in one as the reviewer levels snarky smackdown after snarky smackdown. Deservedly so. Check out the opening comments,

Bart Ehrman has written another book that is probably destined to be a best seller. God's Problem is a lively, though thoroughly conventional and utterly predictable, dismissal of Jewish and Christian views of God. It is a real page-turner, quickly written by an author who assumes a position of moral and intellectual superiority to just about everyone who is unlucky enough not to be a tenured professor in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

And can you believe it, the reviewer is an United Methodist bishop!

A Methodist!? I was raised as a Methodist for the early part of my childhood. I remember their bishops being pasty white and flabby, effeminate with soft hands, rarely any of them had wit, and certainly no strong biblical opinion about anything. Perhaps there is hope for their denomination after all.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Congressional Motors Car of the Future

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Debunking Gay Christian Apologetics [pt. 5]




















The Folly of Same-Sex Theology


Note to Readers: In order to frankly address homosexual sin, I have utilized some explicit descriptions in this post which may make some folks uncomfortable.

Rick Brentlinger, webmaster of Gay Christian 101, has left some comments under my post about Rick Warren.

His various comments raise some important matters the Church MUST consider in our current day where homosexual activists are brazenly more aggressive in promoting their sinful lifestyle. Sadly, the people of our society whose minds have been savaged by postmodern relativism, understands homosexuality to be perhaps an unusual thing, but an otherwise benign lifestyle, rather than the sexual perversion it is. Their response ranges from a disgruntled passivity which says "that's not for me, but 'live and let live' if gays aren't bothering anyone," to a full on embrace of total acceptance where every single person in our world must be forced - even if it means kicking and screaming - to love homosexuality without question.

Those who oppose homosexuality - a lifestyle, by the way, solely defined by a sexual behavior - are marked as bigoted, backward, and repressive of basic human rights. And even more specifically, the charge of bigoted and intolerant is leveled against unapologetic, Bible believing Christians who define their rejection of homosexuality by what has been written clearly in God's Word against homosexual behavior.

This debate will only become more heated, even to the point I believe of severely limiting the free speech rights of anyone who would dare speak against homosexual sin and a gay lifestyle. The Church has to be prepared for this inevitability of persecution by a God-hating world. But where they also need to be prepared is with defending the faith against individuals like Rick who revise the scriptures, along with church history, so as to teach that God never condemned loving, consensual, same-sex partnerships. Rick writes passionately for his position, but his argumentation does not withstand even the least bit of scrutiny.

My lovely wife asked me why even bother responding. Doesn't this fall under being entangled with foolish arguments? My primary purpose is not to convince Rick. Though I desire to see him repent from this sin of corrupting God's Word so as to justify his sinful lusts, that change will take a divine work of God in his heart. The audience I have in mind are those quite readers of my blog who can be confounded by Rick's arguments and do not have the sophistication to answer his claims. It is these individuals whose thinking I want to shore up by providing them the necessary refutations to confront and rebuke gay "Christian" apologetics when they are encountered.

Now, with that introduction in mind...

In response to one of Rick's first comments, I had asked

"I personally would like Rick to articulate his theology of sexual relations and marriage from a biblical foundation."

I asked that question, because I have yet to see a serious attempt by gay apologists to formulate a theology of human sexuality and marriage from scripture. In response to me, Rick linked me to his website's mission statement and then to a series of articles reflecting the historical revisionism often presented in gay apologetics. For example, citing from the discredited historical research of John Boswell who died of AIDS in 1994. Boswell re-interprets the story of the martyrdom of St. Serge and St. Bacchus, two Roman army officers exposed as Christians and martyred for their faith, as being two gay Christian lovers. Though I think Rick believes his collection of articles reflect a theology of human sexuality and marriage, they are in fact polemical propaganda pieces complaining against what he perceives as the unloving status quo toward gays by evangelical Christians.

Before continuing, it may be helpful if I define what I mean by a theology of sexual relations and marriage.

God did not create humanity and then leave us alone to engage in unbridled sexual activity with total abandon. When God created man and woman, He did so in His image (Genesis 1:26, 27). Meaning God invested His authority in men to rule over His creation as His representatives. It also implies that in bearing the image of God, men are to do so in holiness. Our entire way of living is to reflect God's glory. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31, So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. That would certainly include human sexuality.

In order for men and women to pursue sexual lives reflecting God's holiness, God established boundaries with specific commands that not only define the means in which people can express their sexuality, but also what is going to be best for them as a whole person. With in the first and second chapters of Genesis, God established the foundational boundaries of human sexual relationships: marriage. Within that institution of marriage, God further limits the human participants: one man and one woman. They are given a specific mandate: be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth. This mandate obviously involves sexual intercourse between the couple resulting in the birth of children.

Throughout the entire Old and New Testaments, this original model is the divine standard. Even more so in the NT where Jesus Himself appealed directly to this creation model when debating the Pharisees about divorce. The Apostle Paul reiterates the creation model a number of times in his epistles, especially in Ephesians 5, where he reveals how a spirit-filled marriage between a man and a woman pictures the relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:32).

Now, one other significant factor needs to be considered when outlining a theology of human sexuality: the entrance of sin into the world. Man's fall into sin not only separated him from God, but also darkened his mind to spiritual truth, drawing him away into acts of rebellion against his Creator. Sexual sin became one of the dominant displays of his rebellion. For instance, mankind radically departed from the creation model by engaging in sexual activity with multiple partners outside the bounds of committed marriage. Additionally, all sorts of sexual perversions abounded including homosexuality. These sexual sins were even pervasive among God's people, so much so that He provided further regulations through commandments to keep their sin in check, but more importantly, to bring them into conformity to His holy standard so that His people could have a relationship with Him.

In light of these fundamental remarks, let me move on to some of Rick's specific comments.

He writes,

The "love" of the anti-gay crowd is not mediated through the prism of Matthew 7:12 or Matthew 22:36-40. Anti-gay christians would never be satisfied to be treated the way they treat gays and lesbians.

Two thoughts strike me in response. First, any one who names homosexuality as sinful is considered a part of the "anti-gay crowd," as if their opposition to homosexuality is either founded in a vacuum or just basic redneck bigotry. Perhaps I am "anti-gay," but my reason for being "anti-gay" as I have articulated in several articles over the last couple of years at this blog on the subject of gay apologetics, is due in part to the clear teaching of God's Word. It is not because I have some innate prejudice against gays because I merely think their lifestyle is yucky.

Secondly, notice how the love of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you is defined as affirming and tolerating sinful behavior. As if I am merely to turn a blind eye toward it and make no comment, particularly a negative comment, against how those captured by homosexual sin behave. I would probably agree with Rick that many Christians need to evaluate how they treat men and women ensnared by homosexual sin, for often they are mean spirited toward those individuals. However, genuine, godly love will warn others of the dangers of sin, even if it is confrontive and at time offensive to the one hearing the rebuke. I would be unloving not to do so.

Then we come to the heart of our profound disagreement regarding homosexuality and human sexuality. Rick writes,

From the beginning God affirmed it is not good for the man to be alone, Genesis 2:18. The intimate companionship of God Himself, with Adam in the Garden of Eden, was not enough for Adam. God affirmed this fact and intentionally created Eve to meet Adam's need. Marriage rights should include gays and lesbians.

We affirm that if a perfect man, Adam, without a sin nature and living in an unfallen world, needed more than the companionship of God Himself to meet his intimacy needs, it is reasonable to conclude that gays and lesbians need a similar kind of holy union which God provided for the original couple, to meet our intimacy needs.

We affirm that the viewpoint of many Christians, that all gays and lesbians must live celibate lives, never having their deepest intimacy needs met, constitutes a cruel refusal to obey the explicit command of Jesus in Matthew 7:12...

We further affirm that Biblical principle and Christian charity require an empathetic response to the God-created intimacy needs of gay and lesbian Christians. Our mission is to communicate this truth to the body of Christ.

The terms "intimacy" and "intimacy needs" are repeated at least three times in these paragraphs. How exactly is "intimacy" being defined here? Particularly in regards to a biblical paradigm? If I am understanding Rick's idea here, quite simply, the intimacy he is referring to is the sexual intimacy experienced during intercourse. I believe the primary reason for sexual intercourse is to unite a couple together. To make them one flesh as Genesis states.

Speaking from one who is married, there is a deep, abiding emotional connection which takes place when a couple has sex for the first time. Any who is in a healthy marriage will attest to this. That is why fornication, or premarital sexual relations, and adultery, are such devastating sins. Fornication "unites" a person emotionally to a partner, maybe even multiple partners, who will never be a true marriage partner. I have heard testimonies from both men and women who engaged in premarital sex and those illicit encounters deeply impacted them emotionally. Though God certainly can bring forgiveness and one can be healed by the sanctifying Spirit over time, often there is a profound personal struggle to experience the joy of sexual intimacy with the true marriage partner. Adultery can be even worse, for the intimacy intended for only one person is given to a stranger outside the marriage union. Not only has the one who committed adultery sinned against God and the other spouse, but the innocent spouse now struggles to regain trust and the joy once experienced in the sexual union before the adultery.

More to the point, true sexual intimacy comes down to the sex act itself. A man and a woman physically naked before each other, not knowing shame or embarrassment, engage in sharing their bodies for the sole purpose of giving and receiving sexual pleasure. When God created man and woman, He equipped them both with the necessary sexual genitalia to not only accomplish this pleasure to the fullest, but also result in the possibility of children.

As much as Rick speaks of intimacy, a same sex couple cannot experience the true sexual intimacy as God designed it from creation. Those who have given themselves over to homosexual passion may think they can experience that intimacy, but they are lying to themselves. The primary reason is biological. Two men have the same sexual organ, and though they can simulate a sex act to sexual release, this intimacy cannot compare to what is genuinely experienced between a man and a woman as God designed them. This is what I believe Paul has in mind in Romans 1:26, 27 when he speaks of homosexuals going against nature. The idea is that they are engaged in sexual activity that does not fit the function of their biological genitalia. In other words, and to be blunt, the anus is not meant to function as a sexual organ. It is designed to eliminate waste, not serve as a receptacle for another man's penis. Additionally, this is just one of the reasons why the gay revision of Romans 1 as to be condemning only pedophilia and not so-called consensual, same-sex relationships is absurd. The sexual penetration of two adult men is just as "against nature" as that of a grown man with a boy.

Then, allow me to skip to one final comment before saving the others for another post.
Rick writes,

The Church does not condemn all heterosexual behaviour by association on the basis that some heterosexuals commit the sins of adultery, fornication, lust and rape.

We affirm therefore that basic decency, common honesty and elementary logic require that gays and lesbians receive the same thoughtful consideration. That some homosexuals commit the sins of adultery, fornication, lust and rape does not warrant the conclusion that all gays and lesbians deserve unqualified condemnation. Our mission is to make all Christians aware of this basic truth.

If I am reading his comment correctly, Rick is saying that the heterosexual sex between a man and a woman is not condemned just because there are those heterosexuals who commit adultery, premarital sex, and rape. (I am not sure what he means be "lust," lust being a heart attitude that leads to specific sin). In other words, just because there are women who engage in prostitution does not mean human sexuality is condemned as sinful. In like manner then, in Rick's mind I guess, the homosexual sex between two consensual adult males in a committed relationship should not be condemned just because there are S&M perverts flaunting their perversion in a San Francisco gay day parade.

The problem with this comparison and contrast is the biological factor Rick over looks. Like I mentioned above, two men or two women cannot experience the sex God intended people to experience because their sexual organs are incompatible. A sex act simulated by an artificial device or substituting a non-sexual orifice cannot properly function in the manner God intended men and women to have sex. The folly of his so-called "logic" for homosexual sex seems to be utterly lost on Rick and other apologists advocating for a gay Christian lifestyle.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Remember that Matt video?

Anyone remember that "Where the *Heck* is Matt?" video from last summer that featured a guy dancing all over the world?

Turns out it was an elaborate hoax.

Ah, man....

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