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

Friday, July 31, 2009

1 John 2:2 in dialogue

Don Green has been working his way through the book of 1 John for my Sunday school class, Gracelife. The last couple of times he taught, he did two messages on 1 John 2:2, the so-called "silver bullet" verse claimed to debunk particular redemption. He masterfully laid out a clear affirmation of particular redemption and did a fine job answering all objections. Worth the down load and listen over the weekend:

The World's Propitiation, Part 1

The World's Propitiation, Part 2

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Polyamory

When I was in college, I once had to take a sociology class to meet the basic education requirements for graduation. The class was taught by a frumpy old hippy woman who liked to wear long, multi-colored skirts. She also smelled like ginger flavored cigarettes, which was probably from the incense sticks she burned in her office all the time.

Anyhow, I remember that in spite of her vain attempts to pass along her radical hippy worldview to all these rural farm kids, I actually liked the class. She showed lots of films; documentaries to be precise. Each one explored various aspects of social cultures, mores, norms, and taboos.

My absolute favorite, a documentary I still recall to my wife now and again and I am bound to use for sermon illustrations, was how different cultures around the world practice marriage. There was a family in Iran where one woman was the wife to five men, an African guy who was married to two wives, and a Papua New Guinea tribe, where a man's ability to multiply wives to himself was based upon the number of pigs he maintained in his pig pen. All of these "marital" arrangements (of course) were contrasted against a childless, middle aged British couple who kept a hum-drum, boring marriage of convenience, or so it was portrayed in the documentary.

The film maker, and I am certain my teacher, saw the film as a blast against the Christian view of marriage being between only one man and one woman. In fact, I remember the narrator of the film making some comment about how the Christian west was unique because they were virtually alone in the world with their view of marriage intending to be between only one man and one woman.

As the idea of marriage has been captured by homosexual advocacy groups who have forced their way into the collective conscience of our culture, proponents of biblical marriage have tried to meet them ideologically. One of the arguments they have used against gay marriage has been, "If we allow gay marriage to be normalized, then the next move will be to normalize polygamy."

Welp, an argument that at one time would only stir a terse, 45 second exchange on The Larry King Show between a Republican senator, a liberal rabbi, and that bald singer guy from Smashing Pumpkins, is now slowly becoming reality.

The Next Sexual Revolution

Now, a sharp thinking critic will point out that homosexual orientation and the number of participants with marriage are unrelated and to force them to be morally equivalent is illogical. As Andrew Sullivan, a well known same-sex marriage advocate, pointed out in a quote from the article, "I believe that someone's sexual orientation is a deeper issue than the number of people they want to express that orientation with." In other words, sexual orientation is biological, where as how many partners a person chooses to share his or her orientation with is a preference issue.

Ah, but this is where Charles Darwin comes to the rescue once again. (Isn't it amazing how the Darwinian worldview has major social impact?). From a strict, biological stand point, I believe a person could make a clear, compelling case for how multiple partners can confer an advantage for a species. We witness this in nature all the time. The "alpha" male, who is the strongest of the bunch, is able to pass along his traits to the largest number of females. That is because the male has "defeated" as it were the other competing males. We see this with all sorts of primate groups, who, by Darwinian standards, are related through ancestry. So, one can easily argue that the pursuit of polygamous arrangement in our modern society is a biological orientation just like same-sex attraction. People don't necessarily "choose" multiple, long term partners. Polygamy could very well be the biological engine that drives their orientation.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Attack of the Killer Chipmunks

The United Kingdom is set to be invaded by an unimaginable horror, the likes of which have not been seen since the Nazi Luftwaffe.


Dunnn, Dunnn, Dunnn....

(Oh, by the way, be warned of the sidebar images in that link. It is the Sun tabloid).

Will a modern day Boudica arise to save the Britons from this marauding menace? Where art Richard the Lionheart? What Would Winston Do?

What actions are the populace to take if confronted by one of these beasts? Why immediately call the Non-native Species Secretariat.

Huh?

The NSS, I hear, takes forever to respond to these calls. An entire family could be wiped out by the time an agent pulls up.

I think an attack by a monstrous rodent of this magnitude must be met by civilized means.

Two words for my friends across the pond: Shot Gun.

A .410 preferably with rat shot.

Ohhh... That's right. the United Kingdom lives according to those strict gun control laws. Oh well.

Let's remember professor Kenner's words from Crichton's State of Fear: "Civilization (i.e. shot guns) exists to protect us from the nature."

I guess you could always use the Farmer McGregor hoe.

UPDATE:
While responding to a commenter, I happened to notice a second article addressing the chipmunk horror that has befallen the UK. According to this second article, a group of vicious chipmunks escaped from a park about four years ago, and in that time they could have bred in to a horde of chipmunks thousands strong! An army of killer chipmunks. That little one was probably just a scout sent out to test the strength and weakness of their human victims.

Well, how do we contend with an army of thousands of killer chipmunks? If the UK didn't have those gun control laws, a person could use this.

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The Ultimate Win

James Mullen, the fellow who is featured in this article, attended Grace Church with me. We went to the same Sunday school fellowship class as well. My wife and I have been following him and his ministry he founded in an inner city neighborhood north of Minneapolis for a few years now. Recently, Jimbo (that's what we call him) and his wife came down to LA for a visit. So it was nice to catch up with them and how the Lord is using their ministry in an extremely difficult place.

He's Fighting for the Ultimate Win.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

The flat earth myth

One urban legend I hear repeated often in the media, both liberal and conservative, is that creationists use to hold to a flat earth theory until those brave astronomers in the 16th and 17th centuries stood up against the intellectual bigotry of the Christian Church.

Jerry Bergman provides a bit of historical background to "flat earth" societies and how this myth came to be a prominent claim against biblical creationism.

The Flat-earth Myth and Creationism.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

A jerk is a jerk, no matter who he is

So what is the more reasonable scenario?

A prominent, well-respected Harvard professor, who happens to be a black man, comes home to find he can't get into his house because he forgot his keys, or the door is jammed, or whatever. After several minutes of fiddling with the lock he gets into the house. But, as he is turning on the lights, a police officer is standing at the front door asking to see some identification because he got a call that the house maybe being robbed. "Oh, yes officer," says the distinguished research professor and historical documentarian, "let me get that for you. The lock on the door is not working properly and I had to force it open. Here you go, here's my drivers license and university ID." And then, the cop arrests the professor anyways because he is really a racist.

OR

A prominent, elitist Harvard professor with a racist chip on his shoulder, who sees a Klansman standing behind every cop, comes home to find he can't get into his house because the door is jammed, or what ever. After several minutes fiddling with the lock he finally gets into his house. But, as he is turning on his lights, a police officer is standing at the door asking to see some ID because he received a call that this house looked to be being robbed. "What are you talking about? I live here. Doncha you know who I am? This is nothing but racial profiling. You think because I am a black man I am breaking into a house, you racist. I bet your mama is a bigot, too." And then after several more minutes of this raging, disrespectful tirade, the professor is arrested for disorderly conduct.

The irony in all this, is that after president Barry opened his big mouth by accusing the police involved with the case of "acting stupidly," the arresting officer states that he was a big supporter of the president.

It is my experience that if you act like a jerk, you are going to be treated like a jerk.

I have been confronted by cops on several occasions for a variety of things like loitering, running a stop sign, being somewhere I wasn't suppose to be, and even when there were what I thought to be misunderstandings, never did it occur to me to "press" my rights with the cop by calling him an idiot.

There was one time, early in my college days, that I had long hair. I had that pothead, hippy look. On a particular occasion I was meeting some folks out in the rural part of a county in Arkansas to do some camping in the woods. I couldn't find the meeting place, so I was driving slowly up and down the rural highway looking to where I needed to turn. I got pulled over by a state trooper, who must of thought I was drunk or high, and I can tell you right now he was one of these small town, tobacco chewing, red neck troopers who just loved to hassle long haired hippy potheads. I'm talking "Bull" Conner.

He got me out of the car. He asked me a bunch of questions about where I was going, whose car I was driving, why did I have MO plates instead of AR plates. I got padded down. With out asking, he told me to give him my keys. He opened the trunk. My dad, who was an electrician, had left some pieces of pipe he had cut from a recent job. The trooper looked through the ends (presumably for dope). He smelled them (presumably for dope). He put me in his car while he ran a check on my driver's license. At this point I was beginning to fret about being brutalized in the county lock-up.

Finally, he let me go with a ticket for expired tags. I can't explain it, but I had that feeling this guy was wanting something to stick so he could take me in. Yet, all through the demoralizing experience, I never called him a hick, or a bigot, or even said anything nasty about his mother. I just said yes sir, no sir, and answered his questions clearly and as accurately as I could. And I bet, if I had acted squirrely, I would have been calling my parents from the jail in Bradford, AR.

I guess in my mind, a distinguished Harvard research professor who is big friends with Oprah and the president of the United States, would have a higher regard for the law and law enforcement.

Then again, maybe I am expecting too much from these folks.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Moon Truth

What do you know. Maybe Whoopi was right after all.

Just released today by some whistleblower who previous worked for NASA, this clip shows undeniable proof that man didn't land on the moon 40 years ago.

I am truly stunned.


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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why am I not surprised?

While we commemorate the awe and the sense of discovery and exploration the Apollo program instilled in all people, let us not forget there are wackos who still walk among us.

Whoopi Goldberg Questions Moon Landing.

I wonder what Rosie thinks about the moon landing?

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Malthus-Darwin-Eugenics and You

During the last week or so the internet was stirred by a blog article talking about how Barry Obama's "science czar," John Holdren, was one of three authors who published an hysterical, apocalyptic oriented book in 1977 called Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment (table of contents only) in which they outlined how imminent, catastrophic overpopulation would tax the world's resources and cause global misery. They offer all sorts of "green" solutions in order to help prevent such a horrific global scenario like recycling, suggested principles of food distribution, and forced sterilization.

It's that "forced sterilization" concept that made people's hair stand on end. The presidents national "science czar" endorses eugenics policies?

Concern eventually reached the White House that the president's science czar was perceived by the public as being nuttier than squirrel droppings. So, to alleviate fears, they issued a statement pointing out that Holdren co-authored that book with two other people and that it was written in 1977, more than 30 years ago. Hence, implying the ideas presented in this book really came from the other two authors, which only stains Holdren's ability to discern who he publishes with, and that he no longer holds to these ideas today. Of course, if he has renounced his eugenics philosophy, one would think he would distance himself from this previous academic work, but his bio page where he once directed the Woods Hole Research Center proudly lists that book on his credentials.

Folks are right to be alarmed by such statements; however, I believe an important disconnect exists in their minds. As I noted in a previous blog, most people in our modern day are unaware of Charles Darwin's personal racist notions he articulated in his lesser known publications. Yet, in spite of clear and undeniable documentation, his supporters react in a couple of ways. They either choose to ignore Darwin's racist tendencies and the implications evolution had in forming eugenics policies at the turn of the 20th century, or they vehemently deny any racism inherent to Darwin and his evolutionary theory and angrily denounce those who raise it as a problem like the anonymous commenter who left insulting, profanity laced comments under that post.

As I read the original expose' on Holdren, I thought to myself that somewhere in that book the authors would lay out their eugenics driven "ecoscience" by appealing to Darwinian evolution, natural selection, and the "survival of the fittest." With that in mind, I did a net search and located the table of contents from the book. A person has to be a member of the on-line library club in order to read the work in its entirety, but several sections from just the table of contents stood out to me, particularly page 122, which begins the chapter on "natural selection and evolution," and then page 953 where there is a chapter on "cornucopians and neo-Malthusians." Those two words were new to me. I couldn't recall hearing about cornucopians and Malthusians before, so once again I did another net search.

What I learned was they are two opposite philosophies addressing economy, ecology, and population. "Cornucopians" basically believe the world has plenty of natural resources to sustain a thriving human population, its only a matter of developing technology to take advantage of those resources, where as the "Malthusians" believe natural resources are limited and once they are depleted, the world population will be unable to be sustained at current levels. When that happens, poverty and misery will spread across the globe in what is called a Malthusian catastrophe. One viable option to prevent such an occurrence is to restrain the ability of people to reproduce.

It was the Malthusians I was particularly interested in. The Malthusians take their name from British political economist, Thomas Malthus, who outlined his ideas in an essay on population. Basically, he argued that as our society became more advanced, the population of humanity would grow. But, a serious problem with living conditions was a reality as natural resources were unable to keep up with the exploding population. Malthus even noted this with his own British society. Where the problem was at its worst was with the conditions of the poor, lower classes, who were irresponsible with their reproduction. Not only did they have the tendency to have more children than those in the upper classes, they also lacked the ability to support them. In order to combat this problem, he suggested the family size of the lower classes should be regulated. Malthus, who was an Anglican reverend, suggested moral restraint to stem their birth rate, things like celibacy and birth control. However, later advocates of his views thought more in terms of abortion and sterilization.

Malthus had both his critics and supporters of his views. One of the most enthusiastic supporters of his day was none other than Charles Darwin. He was particularly drawn to Malthus's concepts of "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest." Where as Malthus saw natural selection and "survival of the fittest" applying to those human population able to adapt to overpopulation and the lack of resources, Darwin adapted them to biological system being able to survive so as to pass along their positive traits which will improve the species.

However, it was later scientists, like Francis Galton, who took Darwinian-Malthusian principles of population to an extreme with the eugenics movement, the idea that a master race of humanity could be formed by selecting those best traits from various groups and breeding them like cattle. While societies should promote a positive eugenics of encouraging the best traits to be passed along, there was also the problem of those individuals who had bad traits. People who were considered feeble minded, lazy, stupid, handicapped, and a number of other maladies. Also included in that list were certain races of people, like black Africans, who were seen as being less evolved, or from a "lower" race. Because these groups reproduced faster than the higher races there was a push among the intellectuals of the late 1800s and early 1900s to propose solutions to eliminate the unfavorable lower class people, specifically forced sterilizations and abortions. Thus the eugenics movement was born.

Now, with all of that background, let's come back around to president Barry's science czar.

Evolution is not merely another "scientific" theory likened unto the theory of gravity, or any of the physical laws as the Darwinians claim. They want to say "evolution" is the adaption of a species to environmental changes with the strongest members surviving and passing along their best traits to the next generation. But this is not the case. In reality, evolution, as Darwinians use the term, is a philosophical commitment to materialistic atheism; a worldview developed to help explain man's natural existence apart from their creator. The "scientific" and "intellectual" elites would have us believe we can harness evolution to our advantage to improve the human race, but it comes with some severe costs.

The zeitgeist of our current day is that climate change is drastically altering our world and man's hopes for survival. Most of the reason for this climate change is man-made according to environmental hysterics. Thus man needs to radically alter his life style in order to ensure the hope for future generations. A big part of "radically altering life style" will be to reduce the number of children a family has. Does a family really need to have 5 children? Or so goes the argument. The individuals who value large families are generally those in the third world, because they need the helpers for the community, and the religious, especially Christians in the western world. The move then will be to promote birth control among those in the third world (as opposed to giving them the technological know-how to utilize their natural resources), but dealing with the religious is another story.

They value children because God wants them to value children. Moreover, they are not beholden to environmental apocalyptic disaster scenarios because they believe God is directing the world in a specific direction. Hence, they are a direct threat to the long term objectives these "scientific" and "intellectual" elite have for our society.

Paul Ehrlich was one of the other co-authors with Holdren. He is famous for his failed book of prophetic doom The Population Bomb that argued the world would be so over populated in the 1980s, millions of people would starve to death. Ehrlich gave a lecture in April for the Commonwealth Club of California. The lecture was part of a series of lectures commemorating the 200th birthday of Darwin and was on the subject of the evolution of the dominant animal on planet, man. If you want to see how he promotes an evolved sci-fi, futuristic world like Logan's Run or Soylent Green, in which human populations are dealt with in drastic ways like forced sterilizations and employing a one child policy like in China, check out the question and answers. The video contents links you to the various spots. Watch it and then come back and tell me Darwinian evolution is just a neutral, scientific theory.

Keep in mind that this guy is one of the three authors with Holdren.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Chariot

I liked driving the 69 Plymouth Valiant my grandmother left me after her death, but I had no desire to want to keep it going for 40 years.


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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Charles Darwin, Racist

As the popular, secular culture remembers Darwin's 200th birthday, the majority of folks who laud him as one of the greatest scientific minds in human history are oblivious to the dark side of Darwin's evolutionary theory. His modern day proponents have never had any exposure to his material apart from his defining book, Origin of Species. They are only really familiar with a candy-coated view of Darwin written by sycophantic supporters who tend to willingly ignore the more outrageous ramifications of Darwin's naturalistic philosophy. Most specifically, his views on natural selection justifying his personal racism.

I have a forth-coming post that will highlight a recent news item illustrating those ramifications, but for now, I wish to point readers to a brief review of Darwin's racism written by Doug Kutilek for the latest edition of his personal monthly news letter, As I See It. (I would highly recommend folks to subscribe to it. It is free, comes via email as a Word document attachment, and is without fail always interesting).

Charles Darwin, Racist.
(As I See It, Vol. 12, No. 7, July 2009)

“Lastly, I could show fight [i.e., vigorously advocate] on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilisation than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risk the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago, of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is! The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilised races throughout the world.” Charles Darwin (The Life of Charles Darwin by Francis Darwin, London: Senate, 1995 reprint of 1902 John Murray edition, p. 64)
The volume from which this quotation is taken is essentially an abridgement by the author, one of Darwin’s sons, of his own longer 2-volume work (which contained considerable autobiographical material by Charles Darwin). It is not a hostile, fault-finding attack on Darwin, or a “Mommy Dearest” expose by an alienated child, but a strongly pro-Darwin account. Its casual revealing of Darwin’s inner thoughts and attitudes regarding the races of mankind is therefore most telling.

“Natural selection”--the death and genetic elimination and extermination of “inferior” individuals and races in the mad scramble for survival--is viewed by Darwin, the founder and proponent of this view, as a great good, not merely among fishes and ferns and ferrets, but among people. Naturally--and arrogantly--assuming the superiority of his own “Caucasian” race (and of course himself, especially), he views with mirth the absurdity of the fear the white Europeans had in the 15th century of being overwhelmed by the Moslem Turks, which he viewed as a decidedly inferior race of people. And notice, it was not merely white hegemony that Darwin gloried in, but victory in “the struggle for existence” (emphasis added).

(A similar Moslem scare occurred in the 8th century, when the Saracens from North Africa invaded Europe via Spain, but were stopped in their bloody campaign of “peaceful” subjugation via the sword by Charles Martel [“the hammer”] at the battle of Tours, France in 732. Today, European civilization, and that “superior” white European race, faces once again the very real possibility of being overwhelmed by “inferior” non-white races, especially the Moslem immigrants from northern Africa [true for France, Holland, and most of Western Europe], but also once again the Turks [in Germany] and sub-Saharan blacks as well as South Asians [Britain]. In reality, it wasn’t race, but civilization--one founded in broad terms on Biblical Christianity--that gave European civilization its “edge.” Virtually the whole of Europe has now and long since cast away any pretense of Christianity in contempt of the God of Scripture, embracing instead atheistic materialism--a.k.a., Darwinism. And once again European civilization faces the real possibility of extermination, this time from without--following two unprecedentedly massive wars in the 20th century that nearly destroyed Europe from within. “The wicked will return to Sheol--all the nations that forget God,” Psalm 9:17. But I digress).

Darwin looked forward with eager anticipation “at no very distant date” when an “endless number of lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world” (emphasis added). It was not enough in his mind that the European powers through their colonial empires ruled over and dominated these inferior races, but it was his hope and anticipation that they would be actually eliminated--exterminated (can you say “genocide” or “holocaust”?) by the superior whites, and sooner rather than later. Darwinism is not merely in harmony with Arian supremacy, Nietzscheism, Nazism, eugenics, and genocide, it is their foundation and justification. Indeed, there are demonstrable philosophical and intellectual links between Darwin’s hypothesis of “natural selection” and “the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life” (to quote the subtitle of The Origin of Species) with all of these evils, and more.

In another revealing moment, Darwin wrote about one species of ant enslaving another species: “I have seen a migration from one nest to another of the slave-makers, carrying their slaves (who are house, and not field niggers) in their mouths!” (Life of Charles Darwin, p. 191; emphasis in original). Such was his condescending contempt for non-whites.

Darwin was a malignant racist and Darwinism is inherently racist. I wonder if all those non-Caucasian individuals now residing in England consider these things--or are even aware of them--when they spend their ten-pound notes, which sport a portrait of Darwin. And what do the tourists who view his grave in an honored place in Westminster Abbey think about these things? Likely nothing at all.

Of course, when his theory became applicable to his own life or his own family, Darwin was decidedly “inconsistent.” There is the issue of his own incredibly poor health, which plagued him for the last forty years of his life. Its exact origin is unclear; psycho-somatic causes were probably a substantial factor. His various and severe gastro-intestinal problems began when he began his preliminary speculations on evolution, and continued until he had largely ceased his evolutionary writings:
Darwin’s illness has been the subject of extensive speculation. Some of the symptoms--painful flatulence, vomiting, insomnia, palpitations--appeared in force as soon as he began his first transmutation notebook in 1837. . . . [A] careful analysis of the attacks in the context of his activities points to psychogenic origins. Throughout the next decades Darwin’s maladies waxed and waned. But during the last decade of his life, when he concentrated on botanical research and no long speculated about evolution, he experienced the best health since his years at Cambridge. (Bettyann Kevles, “Darwin,” Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition, 1992 Vol. 16, p. 980b)

It may be that Darwin had stress-inducing inner turmoil generated by battling mentally against what his own mind told him was the truth, and that he was fighting against the knowledge of God. It is notable that Darwin admitted that there was overwhelming evidence of design (today we would say “intelligent design”) in the so-called “natural world.” Once the Duke of Argyll confronted Darwin about this matter. Noting features of orchids and earthworms (which Darwin had made special study of), the Duke of Argyll went on,
I said that it was impossible to look at these without seeing that they were the effect of the expression of mind. I shall never forget Mr. Darwin’s answer. He looked at me very hard and said, ‘Well, that often comes over me with overwhelming force; but at other times,’ and he shook his head vaguely, adding, ‘it seems to go away.’ The Life of Charles Darwin, p. 64, note

So Darwin, refusing to believe or acknowledge what his own observations often and overwhelmingly convinced him was true--that there was Divine design in nature--took refuge in his anti-supernatural speculations and presuppositions (having previously, by age thirty, rejected the possibility of Divine revelation or miracles, or the historical accuracy of Scripture; see The Life of Charles Darwin, pp. 57, 58).

But one must further observe: so chronically ill a being--whether dog or cat or man--as Darwin was, must obviously (from a Darwinian perspective), be an “inferior” being, one unfit and unworthy of survival or procreation. In a letter written in 1852, Darwin expressed his fear that his own ill-health was hereditary: “How paramount the future is to the present when one is surrounded by children. My dread is hereditary ill-health. Even death is better for them” (p. 161). So--had he the power to chose between his children alive but in a state of chronic illness, or dead, he would for them choose death. We here witness Darwinism giving birth to “euthanasia,” also bizarrely misnamed “mercy killing.”

But when one of his daughters, Anne, died at age 10, he was deeply grieved. Should he not rather have rejoiced that the omnipotent if cold hand of “natural selection” had eliminated one of the inferior members of the human species, even one of the superior Caucasian race, thereby improving the species and the race, helping drive mankind to higher and better and superior status in the present and future? By his own theory, the death of his daughter at 10, before she could reproduce, was first of all proof of her “unfitness” to live, and secondly a genuine benefit and blessing to the rest of mankind and all future generations. But of course the human heart is not designed to react with the sterile rationalism that consistent Darwinism demands.

Darwin also believed that men were more evolutionary advanced than women (making him a sexist as well as a racist; see the Encyclopedia Britannica article, p. 980)

The whole cult of Darwin, which praises him to the skies as the greatest scientific benefactor of mankind, is remarkably silent on his blatant Hitler-esque racism and his chauvinistic sexism, to say nothing of his bad science and demonstrably false hypothesis. The motive for embracing Darwin and Darwinism is not one compelled by genuine science or a single-minded quest for truth. Upon reading Origin, Charles’ brother Erasmus wrote to him, “In fact, the a priori reasoning is so entirely satisfactory to me that if the facts won’t fit in, why so much the worse for the facts is my feeling” (Life of Charles Darwin, p. 215). In short, ‘the hypothesis is so good, I accept it regardless of whether it conforms to the facts!’

Rather, for many, likely most, Darwinian “natural selection” (versus Divine creation or intelligent design) is favored consciously or unconsciously because it provides a convenient means for eliminating God from the human equation: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie” and “did not think it worthwhile to have God in their knowledge,” as the Apostle Paul describes it (Romans 1:25, 28). In rebellion against the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ as Lord of life and death, they say, ‘Let us tear off their chains, and free ourselves from their restraints,” (Psalm 2:3). Darwin and Darwinism are embraced, not because they are true, but because they are convenient means to an end. Twenty-first century man wishes to become the autonomous God that Satan promised in Eden. Darwinism is the easiest means to that self-destructive end.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stick Figure Propaganda

I am always amused by the desperation of evolutionary propagandist. They bitterly complain - often loudly on MSNBC with shrill, nasally voices - how evolutionary theory is misunderstood. They lament their never ending battle against the witchcraft of creationists who reject proven facts of science for the superstition of the Bible. There really is no contradiction between God and the Bible and Darwinian evolution, they argue. If people would only spend a brief moment to be properly familiarized with evolution, they would quickly come to accept the soundness of its undeniable scientific principles.

The amusing part for me is how in our evolutionary saturated western world, where evolution is taught as being unquestionable fact throughout our school systems and a willing media advocates for it in the likes of documentaries and news specials, why can't evolutionary proponents articulate their message clearly? I mean, if evolutionary theory is proven, unquestionable fact, you would think people would agree and move on to live life.

This is not the case, however, as illustrated by the need of the evolutionists to insist upon early evolutionary education among preschoolers and the need to force their ideas upon an unwilling public by the means of law courts excluding all competition. So much for the survival of the fittest as far as academics is concerned.

At any rate, the evolutionists are sort of left with figuring out ways to dumb down their message for us stupid public who were either too dense to understand evolution in 9th grade earth science class or the teacher too smart to communicate it clearly so we would accept it without question.

The latest attempt to dumb down evolution:

Stick Figure Cartoons.

That's right. A group of concerned citizens in Florida think they can promote their propaganda for a Darwinian worldview of origins by illustrating specific talking points with stick figure cartoons. You can't get much simpler than that. It is brought to you by the fine folks of the National Center for Science Education, which would be better termed, National Center for Atheist Science Education. Some of the examples are just withering in their logic. Like apples falling out of trees and DNA strands just magically turning into animals.

I am certainly compelled. No question about that evolutionary stuff, now. No sir.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Roswell Outreach

Every year on the 4th of July weekend, thousands of UFO cranks descend upon Roswell, NM, the town where a flying saucer supposedly crashed in the desert back in 1947.

Gary Bates gives a report on an outreach he recently participated in at this year's UFO festival. I particularly like how they challenge those folks presuppositions.

Reaching out at Roswell

As a bonus, readers can revisit my encounter with a UFO guy a little while ago.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Gail, Interrupted

One amusing post I read last week was James White retelling of his attempt to purchase a copy of Gail Riplinger's latest pot boiler, Hazardous Materials: Greek and Hebrew Study Dangers, The Voice of Strangers, The Men Behind the Smoke Screen, Burning Bibles Word by Word.

What a title, huh? You need to go to the link and read the tantalizing description of the subjects she covers. It reads like the front page of the TMZ gossip website. My favorite is her accusation against Henry Liddell, who co-edited the Liddell-Scott Greek lexicon because his daughter, Alice Liddell, was the model for the "Alice" in Lewis Carroll's book, Alice in Wonderland. He, according to Riplinger, not only had a pedophile relationship with the girl, but still remains a suspect in the Jack the Ripper case.

How this information, if any of it were even true, has any bearing upon the ability of Henry Liddell to edit a Greek lexicon isn't really answered. Of course, if a person would actually do a web search on "Lewis Carroll" and "Jack the Ripper," something Gail has obviously failed to do or chose to ignore, he or she will discover no one ever accused the man of sexual impropriety with the girl and not one expert in the Jack the Ripper case even takes seriously the charge that Lewis Carroll is the main suspect. No matter to Gail, however.

At any rate, James went directly to her "ministry" website, entered the necessary purchasing information, but instead of receiving an electronic receipt thanking him for his order assuring him it was in the mail, he got a blunt note stating: "We will not fill orders for Mr. James White."

I honestly remained mystified how this charlatan woman is labeled a so-called "expert" on textual criticism and Bible translation. Her research is so buffoonish and easily exposed as being fraudulent, it truly causes me to wonder at the staggering lack of discernment among those people who follow her with any amount of seriousness.

However, on top of all of that, she's a woman. No offense to the fairer sex by any means, but anyone who has moved in and around fundamental Baptist circles knows that one big no-no is to have women teaching over men, a principle I happen to pretty much agree with. In reality, Gail has become the version of Gloria Copeland among fundamentalists, teaching large groups of both men and women. Doesn't anyone in fundamentalist circles see the disconnect with her being given a podium?

I have recounted how when I first encountered her book, New Age Bible Versions, I thought Gail was a man. That's because she originally went by her initials "G.A." Riplinger obscuring her sex to the reader. I believe that was intentional because she knew her book would not be received well, if not at all, if her true identity had been known. Yet, her thesis was so sensational, once we learned "Gail" was really a woman, she had gained enough of a foothold to establish her position as a KJV only apologist.

But there is another shibboleth that marks the oddity of her acceptance among independent fundamentalists: her multiple divorces. You would think a woman with one divorce would be plenty to disqualify her from speaking in any fundamentalist "Baptist Tabernacle" or Bible fellowship church, but she has two. The author at the link above goes in to scrutinizing detail how he researched her background.

Those two facts alone baffle me as to why she can still be allowed an audience with KJV apologists. Do any of them care anything about integrity of conviction?

Just on a lark, I signed up for her email newsletter, The Riplinger Report. I figured it will be mightily entertaining and provide some possible blog fodder. My first one arrived just the other day. It is an expose on the lexicon in the back of Strong's Concordance and how James Strong, the author, was really an evil man who would get drunk and shoot little baby ducks with a pellet gun. Well, I'm making up that pellet gun part, but you get the picture.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Galileo Quadricentennial

2009 has a lot of remarkable anniversaries: Darwin's and Lincoln's 200th B-day and Calvin's 500th.

Another significant one that impacts our world today is the 400th anniversary of Galileo setting his telescope, first upon the moon, and then eventually the entire universe. His observations created a major stink with the Catholic Church and began the myth that he debunked the infallibility of the Bible.

A couple of articles go into the historical background of the Galileo affair:

Galileo Quadricentennial: Myth vs. Fact

and a more technical one,

The Galileo affair: history and heroic hagiography?

Both are worth the read over the weekend.

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Happy Birthday Jean Calvin

I would be amiss if I didn't mention that today was John Calvin's 500 birthday. Interestingly, 2009 also marks the 400th anniversary of Jacob Arminius's death - but that's not until October.

I have the authoritative, 2 volume Battles edition of Calvin's Institutes. I must confess that I have only read portions of them, so in the strictest sense of the word, one could say I am not a Calvinist. I would imagine R. Scott Clark would certainly say that.

But I am a Calvinist as far as the five points are concerned. Actually, that, and Calvin's commitment to expository preaching are the main things that label me "Calvinist." I would be a Baptist of the immersionist stripe, a position Calvin abhorred.

Honestly, I was a "Calvinist" before I even knew who Calvin was. No one taught me the "Calvinist" view of predestination. I didn't learn it from R.C. Sproul or John MacArthur for that matter, though John taught on election when it was discussed in the text he happened to be preaching through. I was even a Calvinist when I was holding to KJV-onlyism. Talk about a strange combination of convictions.

The first "Calvinist" writer I ever encountered was A.W. Pink, but I read him for nearly a year before I got a hold of his Sovereignty of God and learned he was a "Calvinist." My views on election were shaped all by myself from my study of scripture. Later, when I was really introduced to Calvin, I was pleased that my convictions on the matters of election, predestination, and God's sovereignty were confirmed by someone who lived so long ago.

I still marvel at the hatred Calvin stirs in the minds of his detractors. Usually the vitriol is aimed toward his views of salvation, but election and predestination was not really emphasized by Calvin in his earlier editions of his Institutes. Luther taught on the doctrine much more during his lifetime than Calvin did in his. It wasn't until much later during Calvin's ministry when he engaged Pighius, a Catholic apologist who wrote against the doctrine of predestination, that Calvin's pen was moved to write on the subject. Yet it is Calvin's views on election that draws the most fire from his theological enemies.

One of my fellow Calvinist seminary students use to forward me anti-Calvinist articles. My favorite one was written by an internet personality named "kingsknot" if my memory serves me, who claimed Stalin went to Geneva in order to read up on how John Calvin ran his brutal dictatorship. Hence, the Gulag system in Russia was really the brainchild of John Calvin.

But I figure if folks like Jimmy Swaggart, Tony Campolo, Charles Finney, and Dave Hunt have gone out of their way to decry Calvinism so loudly, I must be in good company.

So here's to 500 more years, John Calvin. Thanks for all you have done.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Studies in Eschatology [9]

Postmillennialism

I wish to continue with my overview of the three main eschatological systems, amillennialism, postmillennialism, and premillennialism. I did a brief overview of amillennialism with my last post in this series, and with this one,I will review the second of the three, postmillennialism. (Also, just as a reminder, I am merely offering a brief synopsis, not a detailed analysis. Comments will be open for anyone to leave extended notes).

The prefix in "postmillennialism" provides the basic understanding of the word. "Post" means "after," so the idea of postmillennialism is that Christ will return "after the millennium." But, postmillennialism is much more refined than saying "Christ returns after the millennium." Popular postmillennial teacher, Kenneth Gentry, provides a concise summary when he writes,
Postmillennialism expects the proclaiming of the Spirit-blessed gospel of Jesus Christ to win the vast majority of human beings to salvation in the present age. Increasing gospel success will gradually produce a time in history prior to Christ's return in which faith, righteousness, peace, and prosperity will prevail in the affairs of people and of nations. After an extensive era of such conditions the Lord will return visibly, bodily, and in great glory, ending history with the general resurrection and the great judgment of all human kind [Gentry, 13, 14].

Just like amillennialism, postmillennialism has its roots with the 5th century Church Father, Augustine. Some postmillennial writers try to place postmillennial sympathies with patristic sources earlier than Augustine [Mathison, 27, 28], but it was Augustine's theology in his major work, The City of God, that laid down much of the hermeneutical philosophy for the systems of amillennialism and postmillennialism to thrive.

Though some attempt to argue that theologians following Augustine held to the view of an advancing Kingdom of God going forth into the world to subdue it for Christ, the concept of a victorious gospel is not unique to postmillennial theology. The medieval Roman Catholic Church was amillennial, yet it saw itself as being the Kingdom of God on earth and believed the Church advanced the cause of the Gospel through its efforts to bring earthly nations under the dominion of the pope.

The postmillennialism of our modern era is fairly recent in origin. Postmillennialist, A. H. Strong, attributes the first and fullest treatment to English Arminian theologian, Daniel Whitby (1638-1726), [Culver, 1143]. Whitby, who late in his life rejected orthodox Christology for Arian heresy, published an essay in 1703 on the millennium that was part of a widely read book entitled Paraphrase and Commentary on the New Testament [Grenz, 69]. (It was Whitby's Discourse on the Five Points that the Baptist minister, John Gill, answered in his massive work, For the Cause of God and Truth). Yet, we must not conclude, as some opposed to the eschatology mistakenly do, that because the postmillennialism we know today was first articulated by an Arminian turned apostate that it is to be rejected without question.

Ironically, the vast number of postmillennialists through out history, and even in our modern day, are Calvinistic in their theology. Early on, postmillennnialism found favor with many pastors within the Puritan Reformation in England, as well as with American Puritan, Jonathan Edwards. The 18th and 19th centuries saw the greatest postmillennial growth. The eschatology was advocated by such important men as William Carey, A. H. Strong, B. B. Warfield, and David Brown to name a few [Gentry, 17-19; Mathison, 37-53]. The 20th century, however, saw a decline in postmillennialism. Two major world wars severely damped the notion of a righteous peace prevailing over the affairs of nations. But, the last 35 years or so of the 2oth century have witnessed a resurgence of postmillennialism in the publications of writers like Loraine Boettner, Rousas J. Rushdoony, Greg Bahnsen, and Gary DeMar.

Because postmillennialism has its ancestry with Augustine's eschatological theology, it shares many common features with amillennialism but with slight modifications. I would refer the reader to my previous post on amillennialism to see a fuller treatment of these points, but as a brief reminder,

* Prophetic literature is symbolic and must be interpreted in a non-literal fashion. Postmillennialists believe all prophetic literature in scripture must be interpreted differently than other types of biblical genre. This is especially true with the book of Revelation. To get a feel of how postmillennialists interpret Revelation, see these posts HERE and HERE.

* Revelation 20 is a recapitulation of previous portions of John's prophecy. The millennium, then, is understood as the church age. The 1,000 years is not literal, in the sense of real days and years, but is figurative for the time the Church accomplishes Christ's work upon the earth.

* Satan's binding is a figurative description of the limiting of his authority to hinder the Gospel work.

* The "first Resurrection" described in Revelation 20:4,5, is spiritual regeneration a person experiences at salvation.

One important area where postmillennialists are different from their amillennial kinfolk has to do with their overall approach to interpreting the book of Revelation. A good portion of postmillennialists interpret John's Revelation according to a preterist perspective. Preterism holds to the idea that most of the prophecies written in Revelation were fulfilled in the first century before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. For instance, "the beast" would be identified with the Roman emperor Nero, or the hail stones described in Revelation 16:21 are the catapult projectiles hurled by the Roman armies besieging Jerusalem. Only the second coming of Christ awaits any future fulfillment, which of course takes place after the gospel has gone through out the earth bringing all nations under His authority.

The theology behind postmillennialism can be outlined with three specific arguments:

God's creational purposes. God created the world to be a paradise that reflects His glory. Man's sin plunged the world into death and decay. The purpose of redemption is not only to bring man to salvation, but is also to restore paradise lost.

God's sovereign power. God will sovereignly accomplish His purposes and the means He uses to do so is the proclamation and authority of the Gospel.

God's provision. Additionally, the Church has been empowered by the Holy Spirit to accomplish those means to demonstrate God's sovereign power, [Gentry, 23,24].

Those theological arguments are built upon numerous passages in both the Old and New Testaments where the Scriptures directly tell of how the Messiah's kingdom will gradually bring nations under the authority of the Gospel and grow to fill the entire earth. Looking first to the OT for example, there are plenty of Messianic passages in the Psalms and the prophets where God's Kingdom is seen as overtaking the earth. In the Psalms, Psalm 2, 22:27, 72, for instance, speak of the Messiah's reign going forth over the earth. Psalm 2 specifically speaks to the nations raging against the "Lord's anointed" but He will break those nations who oppose Him.

In the prophets, Daniel 2 is one passage in which God reveals through the dream of a pagan king how His kingdom will be like a stone cut without hands and will break in pieces the great nations which opposed Him and His purposes, and then the stone grows into a massive mountain that fills the whole earth. The picture is one of God's Kingdom gradually filling the whole world, and this is accomplished by the victorious preaching of the Gospel.

Coming to the NT, many of the parables of Jesus speak of the Kingdom of Heaven as gradually having victory over the earth. For instance, in Matthew 13:31, 32, Jesus tells how the Kingdom is likened unto a mustard seed, the smallest of seeds, but it will grow into becoming a great tree where the birds take shelter. The parable of the leaven in Matthew 13:33 compares the Kingdom of Heaven to leaven, which fills the entire loaf of bread with its influence. In the same manner, so too will the Kingdom of Heaven influence the entire earth.

The final words of Jesus to His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20 is that all authority has been given to Him, and He commissions His disciples to go forth into all the world to teach the nations to keep Christ's commandments. Acts 1:8 adds that the disciples will be given the power of the Holy Spirit for them to accomplish this duty throughout the world. The giving of the Spirit is fulfilled in the next chapter of Acts as the Church is empowered to do the task of evangelizing the nations. The remainder of the book of Acts is a testimony of the victorious gospel winning the hearts of men as the Church faithfully labors with bringing the gospel to the entire world.

In like manner, the modern Church continues to labor for this great commission, and in spite of opposition it faces from a hostile world not yet subdued, the promise of victory by the working of the Holy Spirit is the hope we have to see the nations come to Christ and live in righteousness.


*******
Sources:

Robert Duncan Culver,
Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical. (Christian Focus, Great Britain, 2005).

Millard Erickson,
Contemporary Options in Eschatology: A Study of the Millennium. (Baker Books: Grand Rapids, MI, 1977).

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., "Postmillennialism" in
Three Views of the Millennium and Beyond, ed. Darrell Bock. (Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI, 1999).

Stanly J. Grenz,
The Millennial Maze: Sorting out Evangelical Options. (Inter Varsity Press: Downers Grove, IL, 1992).

Keith A. Mathison,
Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope. (P&R Publishing: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1999).

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Cool Pictures of the Day

I geek out on photos of the earth taken from space.

I have to share these recent ones from the ISS:

Recent scenes from the International Space Station

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666 put on hold for now.

Texe Marrs can rest easy for a little while longer:

Bill Banning Forced Identity-chip Implant Clears House

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Friday, July 03, 2009

The most advanced toilet in the world





I only hope it is hooked up to the "most advanced plumbing in the world."

By the way, it can handle 18 hot dogs, but why not, let's say, 26?

Just wondering.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Bro. Cloud's 8 presuppositions for textual criticism

I was on my blog rounds recently when I stopped by David Cloud's Way of Strife, I mean, Life, website.

I know, I know. I really should restrain myself, but I am drawn to it.

Like watching a train wreck.

Whilst there on this recent visit, I found a statement of faith of sorts in which Bro. Cloud provides for us his 8 presuppositions for textual criticism he believes confirms why the KJV is the greatest of all English translations.

The word "presupposition" is something of a new term with Bro. Cloud; at least I haven't seen him use the term specifically in the recent past. I wonder if he has been reading some other KJV-onlyists who attempt to argue in a similar fashion.

I myself believe everyone in the world operates in life on the foundation of certain presuppositions. That's nothing to be ashamed of, but one must consider if his presuppositions hold up to scrutiny. In this case, Bro. Cloud believes if you apply these 8 presuppositions to the discipline of textual criticism, the faithful, Bible believing Christian will not only conclude modern textual criticism is apostate, but also conclude the KJV is God's Word.

With that in mind, let's see if his 8 presuppositions he applies to textual criticism hold water and if they sail us safely to the conclusion that the King James Bible is the only reliable English translation without capsizing:

1. I BELIEVE IN THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
The Bible contains everything that we need for faith and practice. It is able to make the believer "perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." Obviously, then, nothing else is necessary. I do not have to rely on priests or scholars or tradition or extra biblical sources.

So far so good. I would agree with Bro. Cloud: the Bible certainly contains everything that we need for faith and practice. I don't rely on priests and scholars or any extra biblical sources as an authority over reading the Scripture.

However, I am not sure Bro. Cloud is thinking carefully here. What is Bro. Cloud's take on Paul's words in Ephesians 4:11 where Paul states how teachers and preachers are given as gifts to the NT Church for the equipping of the saints? Surely Bro. Cloud believes some scholars are necessary to help Christians understand Scripture? He references a book by David Sorenson at the end of his article. How exactly does David Sorenson, who is hardly a competent scholar in these matters, NOT qualify as an extra biblical source for Bro. Cloud's readers?

Moving along...

2. I BELIEVE IN THE SOUL LIBERTY OF THE BELIEVER, meaning that each believer can know the truth for himself and is responsible to test everything by God's Word (Acts 17:11; 1 Cor. 2:15-16; 1 Thess. 5:21).
Thus, it is evident that the child of God can make his own decision in the important matter of the Bible text-version issue. I do not ask my readers to depend on me and to follow my teaching; I ask them simply to prove all things and hold fast that which is good and to receive my teaching with all readiness of mind and to search the Scriptures daily whether these things are so.

Again, I would agree with Bro. Cloud. A believer can know the truth for himself and is responsible to test all things by God's Word. But I would add the one missing element to this point: The regenerating work of the Spirit. Bro. Cloud tries to get to that in the last presupposition, but it is clear from the biblical verses he cites in support of this second presupposition that the Spirit must be at work first BEFORE a believer can experience "soul liberty," or the ability to discern spiritual things. However, anyone familiar with Bro. Cloud knows he rejects the idea of the regenerating work of the Spirit preceding a person's faith in Christ. A doctrine taught by biblical Calvinists. But ironically, the verses he cites contradict his aversion to Calvinism.

Look for a moment at the first two of Bro. Cloud's references: In Acts 17:11, the Bereans were not Christians, but Jews who were more open minded than the ones in Thessalonica, but it is apparent from the following verses that their readiness to search the Scriptures was due it part to the regenerating power of the Spirit already at work with them. A belief and commitment to Christ was the fruit of that spiritual work. Checking the second passage, 1 Cor. 2:15, 16, the reason why the Corinthians could discern spiritual things is because, as according to 1 Cor. 2:14, the Spirit made them able, or better, gave them the power to discern spiritual things.

Soul liberty certainly exists, but a soul must first be freed by God's grace before it can exercise the liberty to discern the truth. As we will see in the next point, however, Bro. Cloud doesn't like that particular view of "soul liberty."

3. I BELIEVE IN THE SIMPLICITY OF SOUND DOCTRINE (Mat. 11:25; 1 Cor. 1:26-29; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Jn. 2:20).
If a doctrine is so complicated that the average child of God must lean upon a specialized priest or scholar, that doctrine is not Scriptural. The New Testament faith is not an elitist issue. It was committed to ordinary people.

This is where Bro. Cloud's presuppositions begin to fracture. In principle, there is a correctness to what he is saying. I would certainly affirm the perspicuity of Scripture, meaning it is clear and understandable to all. But... How exactly is the word "complicated" defined? Bro. Cloud leaves this open to endless speculation. As we will see with his examples, he attempts to squeeze Calvinism into this definition, and then moves on to so-called modern textual criticism.

Honestly though, KJV apologetics are just as complicated and convoluted as either one of his examples. According to Bro. Cloud's logic, I would have to read David Sorenson's book, or any number of Bro. Cloud's writings, in order to know I am suppose to read the King James only. Believe me, KJV onlyism is not a simplistic doctrinal conviction a Christian has the Holy Spirit confirm to him at the outset of his walk with Christ. I was a perfectly happy Christian loving the Lord and growing in grace with my NIV study Bible until someone told me I had the wrong translation and gave me a bunch of books to show me. Some of those books included Bro. Cloud's crudely printed O Timothy magazines.

Turning to his examples. Bro. Cloud writes:

One example of this is Calvinism. For instance, James White claims that Dave Hunt doesn't understand Calvinism even though he is an intelligent man, a believer, and he has studied the issue diligently. I am convinced that if something is that complicated it can't be the truth. (I also believe that Dave Hunt understands Calvinism very well, in spite of what James White claims.)

First of all, what is Bro. Cloud's take on those fundamentalist Baptists who came to embrace Calvinism apart from James White, or John Piper, or even that dreadful "pseudo" fundamentalist, John MacArthur? Doesn't seem like Calvinism was complicated for these men.

Moving along to the illustration at hand...

Bro. Cloud is obviously ignorant of the history of the disagreement between Dave Hunt and James White, so let me help him. Sometime in 2000, Dave Hunt made embarrassingly misinformed comments about Calvinism in his Berean Call newsletter. James White was hosting a local radio show at around the same time Dave printed his comments, so James had Dave on the show to talk about them. On that program, before they even began to discuss the issue, Dave Hunt admitted rather emphatically that he was ignorant of the Reformers and the subject at hand. He stated he wanted to stick with the Scriptures.

Fair enough; however, when James began interviewing Dave and asking him questions from the text of scripture, he exposed the inconsistency of Dave's anti-Calvinist position with the plain, simplicity of sound doctrine found in the Bible. Dave slowly began to come apart. The interview did not go well for Mr. Hunt and I personally think it put a bee in his bonnet and thus this interview was the catalyst for him launching his quixotic crusade against Calvinism. It was no more than 6 months later that Dave Hunt proclaimed in a lecture at a conference somewhere that he "knew more about Calvinism than most Calvinists do." So, with in the span of six months, Dave went from being totally ignorant of the subject to being an expert.

Sorry Bro. Cloud. Dave Hunt may be an intelligent man, but you are wrong to attribute to him the knowledge of someone who has "studied the issue diligently." If one were to read the critiques of his main book attacking Calvinism called What Love is This? it is painfully obvious Dave Hunt, by taking on a subject he so woefully knows nothing about, has fully tarnished what little reputation he had of being a biblical apologist.

But Bro. Cloud provides that example to give us this one:

Another example is modern textual criticism. The child of God is required to depend upon the textual scholars, because it is impossible for an ordinary believer to make textual decisions.

Let's stop right there an examine this comment. Bro. Cloud charges modern textual criticism of requiring believers to depend upon them to make textual decisions, but he over looks the fact that KJV apologetics must be put in this category as well. According to KJV onlyists, an ordinary believer needs to look at all those verse comparison charts, and learn about the development of the TR, and the heresies of Westcott and Hort and so on, to conclude modern versions are heretical and the KJV alone must be trusted. How exactly is this not the same thing Bro. Cloud is condemning?

He then goes on to quote from an introductory work to textual criticism by Greek scholar, A.T. Robertson, as an example of what he means about modern textual criticism being hard to understand. Of course, Bro. Cloud fails to tell his readers that Robertson's book is meant for those folks doing advanced study, not for regular laymen. If he really wanted an honest comparison, he would have cited from James White's KJV Only Controversy, or the collection of articles written by some Bob Jones professors called God's Word in Our Hands, that looks at textual criticism from a layman's perspective.

4. I BELIEVE THAT ALL THINGS SHOULD BE DONE UNTO EDIFYING (Rom. 14:19; 1 Cor. 14:26; 2 Cor. 12:19; Eph. 4:12, 16, 29).
Any biblical research that does not result in spiritual edification is wrongheaded and is disobedience to the plain commands of the Word of God. I can candidly say that none of the many books I have read on modern textual criticism has spiritually edified me. I have found them intellectually interesting, frustrating, and confusing, but never edifying.

What exactly "edifies" a person is in the heart of the beholder. To the contrary, I have read a few books on modern textual criticism and have found them delightful and quite edifying for my faith. They only served to strengthen my love and commitment to God's Word.

5. I BELIEVE IN THE REALITY OF THE DEVIL (1 Pet. 5:8). One of the devil's chief goals since the Garden of Eden has been to attack and corrupt the Word of God and to confuse people's minds in regard to it.

His first words to Eve were, "Yea, hath God said?" (Gen. 3:1)....
The devil questioned God's Word (v. 1)....
The devil denied God's Word (v. 4)....
The devil substituted his own words for God's Word (v. 5)....

...The child of God must therefore be alert to his activities in this field. It is impossible to understand the Bible text-version issue if one does not understand the devil's hatred of God's Word and if one does not make this fact a prominent part of his "textual criticism."

King James only apologists usually appeal to this passage in Genesis 3 to build their case against modern translations. They do so in order to show "proof" that heretics are corrupting the Bible when they engage in any meaningful textual criticism which sides with readings found in textual manuscripts other than the ones used to translate the KJV. Their choice of textual readings over those found in the KJV are likened unto Satan tempting Eve by "altering" God's Word in some fashion or another. From the very beginning, KJV supporters argue, Satan has been attacking God's Word and thus he continues to do so even in this day with modern textual criticism and the publication of modern translations.

But a couple of problems are present with this line of argumentation. First, it assumes a recognizable conspiracy has taken place during the transmission of God's Word. That being, heretical men have intentionally altered the original language manuscripts to promote heresy and those alterations are clearly reflected in modern translations. The problem, however, is that no such altering of the Greek language took place by heretics. Heretics used the same scriptures as orthodox Christians, they just poured their warped interpretations on the Bible to make it say what they wanted it to say. Very few heretical men tampered with the physical text. Of those individuals we know about, the fact that we know about them demonstrates clearly they did not get away with hiding their corruptions.

A second problem is found with in the citation from Genesis. KJV onlyists use this interchange between the devil and Eve as illustration of corrupted manuscripts. But notice that the devil did not physically change God's Word. He merely questioned it and put his own spin upon what God originally stated. What the devil actually did to God's original Words to Adam and Eve is exactly what we have seen heretics historically do to the Bible: He put his interpretation onto them so as to change their true meaning.

6. I BELIEVE IN THE PRE-EMINENCE OF FAITH (Heb. 11:6; Rom. 10:17; 14:23). The only way to understand the Word of God is by faith, and faith is based only on God's Word (Rom. 10:17).

What Bro. Cloud unwittingly suggests with this comment is that faith in the Word of God is blind. This is a typical argument I see with KJV only apologists. If one were to have faith (especially "faith" in their KJV only apologetics), then the only reasonable conclusion would be adherence to the King James Bible as the only reliable English translation.

Yet God would not have His people believing by faith in something that is not there. In other words, a Christian's faith is affirmed by what we see happening within Church History as God works among His people, including the transmission of His Word. For instance, I believe in the Exodus because it is recorded in Scripture, but my belief is not blind in some unknowable event that can never be researched. When the subject is researched, my faith in the Exodus event is soundly confirmed, because those events happened in time and space. The same can be said about the flood, the Babylonian exile, the Resurrection of Christ. Thus, when I research textual criticism, rather than seeing the KJV position affirmed as Bro. Cloud thinks it is, I see the biblical text being preserved by God in the very manner these so-called "unbelieving" textual critics say it is.

Additionally, Bro. Cloud confuses the "faith" given by God to believe the truth of God's Word (what I noted under point #2 above), with this notion of a blind faith as if the two are one and the same. So, if a person "has faith" in God's Word, he will reject modern textual criticism and embrace the arguments put forth for the exclusivity of the KJV.

Bro. Cloud then goes on to say how modern textual critics don't have faith in God's Word and mock the ideas of inspiration and preservation. He also castigates fundamentalists who side with the findings of modern textual criticism as being that kind of faith which doesn't believe in God or His Word, i.e. the KJV. What he doesn't do is show us why accepting modern textual criticism is not being faithful to God. Bro. Cloud will go on in the last point explaining how modern textual critics were non-fundamentalist unbelievers (certainly "unbelievers" in Bro. Cloud's mind) and so their work cannot be trusted. But his implication contradicts his last sentence under this point when he writes,

Our faith must therefore be in God, not in man (i.e., not in human scholarship, in the KJV translators, in Erasmus, or in John Burgon or some other defender of the traditional Reformation text).

So is Bro. Cloud suggesting Erasmus or John Burgon cannot be trusted like the host of supposedly unbelieving textual critics? If we are not to put our faith in Erasmus, or the KJV translators, or any other defender of the traditional Reformation text, why then do KJV apologists, of which Bro. Cloud is one of the most well known and prolific in publishing, always appeal to the grand scholarship of the KJV translators or the unanswerable arguments of John Burgon? How exactly does Bro. Cloud justify his exhortation not to trust in scholars like these when KJV polemicists constantly say we must?

7. I BELIEVE IN TREMBLING BEFORE GOD'S WORD (Psa. 138:2; Prov. 30:6; Isa. 66:2; Rev. 22:18-19).

The Scripture is not an ordinary book; it is the Word of the Living God and as such one must exercise extreme caution in handling it. Even to tamper with the words of a human author is a serious matter and there are laws against it, but how much more serious is it to tamper with the words of Almighty God! I have read dozens of books by textual critics, and there simply is no fear of God in their approach to the words of Scripture. The textual critic approach is strictly a matter of human scholarship and the Bible is simply another book.

I too believe in trembling before God's Word, but how exactly does the "trembling in fear" before God's Word discount the methods and principles employed by modern textual critics? For example, modern biblical critics say that when we examine the thousands of preserved manuscripts, the shorter reading is to be preferred because as manuscripts are hand copied, copyists have the habit of expanding a reading, or attempting to harmonize it with a similar passage in another book, and thus making it longer than what was originally written. How exactly is that idea not "trembling before God's Word"? How is that "tampering with the words of Almighty God"? These things are no more a matter of human scholarship than Erasmus choosing particular readings over others when he compiled his edition of the NT, nor is it any different than when the KJV translators sided to put certain marginal readings from the original into the main text of their translation. Is Bro. Cloud attributing to the KJV translators (men we should not put our "faith" in, as he just stated in the point above) some special knowledge or blessing that no other translators who came after experienced?

8. I BELIEVE IN THE NECESSITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (1 Cor. 2:12-16; 1 Jn. 2:20, 27).

With this last point, Bro. Cloud lists off a number of important men used in the historical development of biblical, textual criticism. All of them he falsely accuses of being unregenerate and thus unworthy to offer any opinion about the transmission of the biblical text or how to translate it. He also offers more disparaging accusations against any person claiming to be a "fundamentalist" who utilizes their work.

Bro. Cloud writes, Apart from the Holy Spirit, nothing about the Bible can be properly understood. Unregenerate men who lack the Spirit are not qualified in this field. This assertion, of course, assumes all those men Bro. Cloud claims were "unregenerate" were truly "unregenerate." He draws that conclusion about them because in his mind, many of them believed theologically suspicious doctrine and none of them were "fundamentalists." But if we are to apply his standard of what qualifies a person to engage in textual criticism, there are similar people involved with the production of the KJV.

Erasmus, being probably the biggest example, was a practicing Roman Catholic, and this is in spite of the attempts by KJV only apologists to make him a proto-independent Baptist. What of the men who had to learn Hebrew from unbelieving Jews? They had to learn from unregenerate Christ deniers. Did they learn it properly to determine which Hebrew texts were necessary to translate? The KJV translators were Anglicans, certainly not "fundamentalists," who practiced infant baptism and held to baptismal regeneration. Moreover, as I have already noted, Bro. Cloud has stated that we are not to put our faith in men to begin with, even those men who defend the KJV. Yet here, Bro. Cloud gives the impression we need to have faith in those who produced the KJV because they were qualified due in part to their "regeneration." The inconsistency is astounding.

Bro. Cloud concludes,

Modern textual criticism, which gave us the modern Bible versions, is not founded upon dependency upon faith or the Holy Spirit or any of the aforementioned things. ... The Bible is a supernatural and spiritual Book and nothing about it can be known apart from the application of spiritual tools. ... Though some evangelicals and fundamentalists who use textual criticism might claim that they also are following the Holy Spirit, the principles of textual criticism are contrary to this.

Bro. Cloud has not proven the validity of his presuppositions. There are a number of necessary variables that must be true in order for them to stand: heretics have corrupted ancient biblical texts, modern era textual critics are unregenerate, principles of modern day textual criticism are not led by the Spirit, and using modern textual critical methods is compromising one's biblical faith. Though Bro. Cloud would have his readers believe that apostates like Bart Ehrman are produced when they came under the influence of modern textual criticism, such is not the case.

When it comes down to it, the arguments Bro. Cloud has put forth to affirm those presuppositions only serve to make them viciously circular. Basically, it goes like this:

Only Spirit-filled Christians (implied really to be independent, fundamentalist Baptists), utilizing Spirit-led principles of textual critical methodology, may do any meaningful textual criticism and translational work in the biblical languages. However, since the last time so-called Spirit-filled believers utilizing Spirit-led textual critical principles was when the King James was translated, there really isn't any further need of "textual criticism" and/or language translation in our modern day, for to do so would alter the work of Spirit-filled believers.

Hence, anyone who engages in textual criticism and language studies in our present day must not be Spirit-filled because modern textual criticism was developed by unregenerate men. If a person is Spirit-filled and uses Spirit-led tools, but those tools bring him to the conclusion the KJV could be translated better and modern translations are not bad, either that person isn't Spirit-filled, or he is compromising with unregenerate men. Because if he was truly regenerate, believing with faith, the only conclusion he would draw is that the King James Version is God's Word.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Do you want to know a secret?