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

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Mike Warnke of this Generation?

A Plea to Ergun Caner

Back in the late 70s and early 80s before I was genuinely saved, I was a church attending kid who merely enjoyed running around the game circle and drinking red punch. I had a low interest in anything Christian at all. Later when I reached my teens and entered the high school and college youth groups, my church interests turned from game circles to the Christian "sisters" if you know what I mean. I might have had a wider interest in Christian related issues by that time, but still, it was marginal at best.

I did however begin to take an interest in the then growing contemporary Christian celebrity scene with music by Petra and Amy Grant, and the ever increasing popular "Jesus Junk" paraphernalia like "This Bloods for You" tee shirts. One specific celebrity I was drawn to was Mike Warnke. Warnke was the first official Christian comedian/speaker I ever heard. His testimony was earth shaking. He told the story about his rough up bringing at a truck stop, his early years as a fundamentalist Baptist kid who hated Catholics, his going into the Vietnam War, his involvement with drug abuse and free love, and eventually his introduction to witchcraft and eventually Satanism.

Warnke claimed he became a Satanic high priest who led all sorts of horrific rituals of sacrifice and sexual deviancy. He even told how he could command spirits to do levitations and other such supernatural acts. Eventually, he was saved by Jesus Christ from this wretched lifestyle and became an evangelist warning people, especially youth, against the evils of Satanism. He gained something of a reputation as an "expert" on Satanism, even writing a book on the subject incorporating his testimony called The Satan Seller. He even began to make the interview circuit on the TV news shows when commentary was need to explain the Satanic origins of Halloween.

I liked him because he told a good story. I must have handed out dozens of bootleg copies of his "testimony" tape, Mike Warnke Alive, not so much because I wanted to evangelize as I thought the man's story was wild and interesting. But wild is what really described Warnke's story.

In the early 90s, some reporters for Cornerstone Magazine, did a full investigation of Warnke's background and uncovered how all of it was an outright lie. A complete fabrication. He was never a satanic high priest. The original articles are still online detailing his background. Even more disturbing was his sexual immorality and the multiple divorces and marriages, 4 all together if I am remembering correctly. The guy's life was an utter sham. Slowly, his "ministry" and comedy album making days began to come unraveled.

Now.

I share all of that about Warnke because I see another similar situation happening with another Christian celebrity in our current day: Dr. Ergun Caner. Ergun Caner has written a handful of books on the subject of Islam. His testimony is that he was raised a Muslim in a family committed to Islam. As a teen, he was saved and eventually led his entire family to Christ. His background as a Muslim provides him a platform of sorts to speak as an "expert" on the religion, so he has a position of credibility. He is a well loved speaker at SBC youth conferences and other gatherings. He is also the president of the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Meaning he has a significant position in one of the major Baptist schools in the United States affiliated with the SBC. That's pretty big.

Ergun Caner boasts of doing a number of "debates" with Muslim opponents. One would think that if you are former practicing Muslim who is now a leading apologist of sorts in the SBC, debates with practicing Muslims would be expected. The problem, however, is that no one can find any proof of his public debates. The Muslim apologists Dr. Caner claims to have debated testify that they have never met the man, let alone debated him. That is a rather serious charge if it is true.

All of this is coming to light recently with a series of blog posts between James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries and supporters of Dr. Caner addressing the issue of Dr. Caner's integrity as to his ministry. Dr. Caner has had harsh words in the past against the Reformed faith James White holds to. I'll admit I stand with Dr. White on the issue of Calvinism; but laying that aside for the moment, I am much more concerned with the continual exposure of Dr. Caner's dishonesty regarding his apologetics resume if we could call it that. What is to be gained by standing before an audience of teenagers to tell them you have several debates with leading apologists from all the various world's religions when in fact you don't? Even more troubling is how it has been brought to light that Dr. Caner claims to have debated specific Muslim individuals who clearly deny they have never even met him. James White goes into more detail here: A Response to Dr. Ergun Caner.

Look: I don't care if Dr. Caner hates Calvinists and has a disdain for James White and his supporters. I do, however, Care [with a capital "C"] about the integrity Dr. Caner brings to our faith when he represents it before both a believing and unbelieving world. Muslims don't care what he thinks about Calvinists. They do care that he tells the truth about the things he says about Islam and their apologists.

Moreover, and specifically to the point, Dr. Caner is the president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.

Did you read that carefully? The PRESIDENT.

He represents the theological seminary for one of the major Baptist colleges in the world. Being the [let me note that again] PRESIDENT of a theological seminary means he sets the academic tone for the entire school in the studies of theology [that means the "study of God"]. Did you get that? When people hear Dr. Caner speak, they are hearing the PRESIDENT of a theological seminary speak to them! He reflects what is being taught at that seminary at that major Baptist school. Is there not one colleague, professor, fellow academic - a pastor! - who either teaches at that same college or is an alumni who is the least bit troubled by these revelations of Dr. Caner's public persona? Additionally, Dr. Caner is a Christian. He not only reflects the integrity of the entire Liberty university, but he reflects Jesus Christ. Does that matter to any of his supporters!?

When the Warnke scandal was made public, I had a friend who I knew in high school, to whom I gave a copy of Warnke's testimony tape, call me out of the blue. He was not a Christian and I hadn't really spoken at length with him for a few years because our lives took us into different directions after graduation. His call was sad, because he saw in Warnke a man who overcame great odds (as Warnke had told them on his "testimony") by the help of Christ. I tried to explain to my friend that the Bible is clear that many false prophets will deceive many and that Warnke doesn't represent biblical Christianity. To my friend, he didn't seem to care. This man had failed in his Christian faith and my friend didn't see any hope in further pursuing anything church related he had known as a kid.

My hope is that Dr. Caner will come to his senses and realize he cannot continue in a public ministry based upon dishonest academic credentials. At this point I could never recommend his published works as being reputable. In the long run, this dishonest boasting will only lead to the ruination of souls. I pray that Dr. Caner will repent and change how he describes his background for the sake of Christ and His Church.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Green Prince

I am sure there is a good sermon illustration for preaching 2 Peter 2 in here somewhere.

Son of Hamas Founder Spied for Israel

A Christian, Mosab Yousef, spied for Israel for 10 years before coming to the United States.

In a political climate that wants to paint the war between Israel and the Palestinian movement as a complicated disagreement between which flavors of ice cream are better, or it is big, mean bully Israel beating up on those peace loving Palestinians, Mosab provides a bit of clarity to the situation:

“Hamas cannot make peace with the Israelis,” he said. “That is against what their God tells them. It is impossible to make peace with infidels, only a ceasefire, and no one knows that better than I. The Hamas leadership is responsible for the killing of Palestinians, not Israelis.” [emphasis mine]

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Primer on Calvinism

Phil Johnson was recently interviewed regarding the five points of Calvinism.
It is a short, but excellent introduction to the doctrines of Grace.

Phil Johnson: The Doctrines of Grace

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Going "Bart Ehrman"

Joshua Sowin, guest blogger for First Things Evangel, has come out.

Pulling a Bart Ehrman, he renounces his former, misguided fundamentalist beliefs by sharing with us a garment rending lament:

Why I'm Not a Creationist (Anymore)

That's right. Josh's early days as a new Christian were tragically wasted believing in young earth creationism. His catharsis allows us to collectively wring our hands and grieve together with him, but then rejoice in praise for his liberation into sound reason and education.

He opens with these remarks,
I became a young-earth creationist in my sophomore year of high school. It was not a scientific decision.
Just a note to Joshua: Pretty much all Darwinian evolutionists didn't make a scientific decision to become an evolutionist, either. When pressed, a lot of them will explain how they have issues with God's authority in their lives. They're looking for any alternative to help them justify their rebellion. But that is what the Bible says about the hearts of sinners, anyways.

Where do the men and women trained in their fields of science according to Darwinian evolutionary constructs who have since become young earth creationists fit in Joshua's box? Is John Sanford, who spent nearly 27 years teaching plant genetics at Cornell, a moron now because he became a young-earth creationist? Kurt Wise studied under Stephen J. Gould, one of Josh's favored authors. I guess I am to conclude either Wise was too stubborn to see the evidence to make a scientific decision in favor of evolution, or Gould just lacked the communication skills to compel him.

Josh continues,
I had just become a Christian, and it was clearly taught on the first page of the Bible. I was young and impressionable. I took up the cause with zeal.
As a young earth creationist, when I read the first pages of the Bible, I don't see young earth creationism taught, either. I do, however, see an historically reliable chronicle of God creating, and according to the text, he did so in the span of 6, ordinary periods of time that we call a solar day. We haven't even left the first paragraph and Joshua has his straw man stuffed and ready to be thwacked.

Going on,
A teenager who thinks they have the absolute truth from God can be dangerous, as we've seen with Islam. Thankfully, I was merely embarrassing.
Ah yes, the old "all religious fundamentalists are the same," argument. This is facile reasoning at its worse. Is Joshua of the opinion that if a Christian father wants his daughters to dress modestly he might as well be telling them to dress head to toe in a burka?

Josh goes on,
I argued against evolutionist teachers and students, but I never really cared about science except to defend my faith. It usually ended with everyone frustrated. The truth was simple: In the Bible, God told us he created the universe (along with all of earth's plant and animal species) in six 24-hour days. Adam and Eve were created and we descended from them. Later, God sent a flood to destroy mankind and only Noah and his family survived. There was no doubt in my mind these events happened, which meant two foundational teachings of modern science, old earth and evolution, must be wrong.
Joshua must have learned his creationism from the Jack Chick school of theology, because what he outlines here is not what biblical creationism teaches.

1) The age of the earth and evolution are related, but need to be addressed separately (see HERE).

2) Evolution is already a loaded term. In discourses, depending upon how the evolutionary defender is arguing, it can mean either molecules-to-man, descent by modification by natural selection, or it can mean merely the adaptation of a species to changing environmental forces. Creationists believe in the sort of evolution that takes place to allow species to adapt to changing environments. They reject the molecules-to-man evolution for extremely good reason: No evidence for it exists.

3) In short, Darwinian evolution is the philosophy laid upon the evidence so as to interpret it.

4) Creationists determine the world is young because studied in their whole, the genealogical chronologies in Genesis suggest the earth is young. Additionally, Jesus Himself identifies the foundation of marriage at the beginning of creation in Mark 10:6. If the creation of the world was 4 billion years before God instituted marriage between Adam and Eve, what exactly was Jesus talking about? (see HERE).

5) God did not create every "species" of animal we see today. He created kinds. This is probably one of the dumbest errors critics of biblical creationists make when they attempt to hammer them with "reason." It's embarrassing in a way. They assume creationists believe that on the 5th and 6th days God made all the hundreds of different fish, dogs, cats, horses, cows, chickens, etc., we see today. Thus, it would have been impossible for Adam to have named them all in a day's time, and as Josh notes near the bottom of his essay, fit on Noah's ark. But Joshua is in good company: Dawkins uses this argument against creationists, too. If this is what Joshua believed about creationism, I can understand why he abandoned it.

Skipping down a bit,
I knew Christianity was true - it changed my life. Who were a bunch of stupid, godless scientists to tell me my religion was wrong?
According to Paul in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15, one of the truisms for Christianity is a historical Adam who sinned and plunged humanity and the world into sin and under God's judgment. One of the biggest parts of that judgment is physical death, yet theistic evolutionists create a host of theological problems with scripture if they insist Darwinianism is true. Death and natural selection is a major component driving evolutionary theory. Am I to reject what I have recorded for me in Scripture just to please a bunch of stupid, godless scientists who tell me my religion is wrong? Jesus didn't die because of something a mythical person did.

Then the light of truth shines in,

One might say that reading brought me out of creationism. No wonder I was taught a fear of books outside the Bible and orthodox theology ... There are times in our lives when the scales fall from our eyes and we see something clearly for the first time. For me, it usually happens through reading books.
Josh's new life in Christ must had been dreadful. Stuck in a church that was ran like a North Korean concentration camp and herded into their youth group where he was forced to read theological propaganda. As Joshua climbs the fence to liberation, the rest of us pitiful young earth souls are left behind clutching the barbed wire of our intellectual bondage while watching him run to freedom.

I like to read, too. Just as much as Josh if not more. Reading had the exact opposite on my thinking regarding Genesis, creation, and evolution. While Josh thinks he had the scales fall from his eyes, I see a severe lack of critical thinking. For someone who claims to place a high value on reading, I would think he would at least pick up the books of creationists. Several come to mind that I know would benefit him; if not change his mind, at least allow him to respect his opponents' position and represent his criticisms of it with accuracy.

Moving down a bit,

After I accepted an old earth, I began having doubts about Genesis as literal history. This was heresy as far as I was concerned, and it plagued me. All the elements of a standard creation myth were there - was it possible Genesis was a God-inspired creation myth? Perhaps it was a literary way for God to reveal his creation to his people, and wasn't intended as scientific treatise.
Curious. Does Josh have doubts about the Gospels being literal history? I mean, is it possible that the four Gospels were really just a God-inspired redemption myth? When I survey the Gospels, Jesus and the apostles didn't seem to have a problem accepting Genesis as a literal historical account.

Continuing,
I had been grossly misinformed about evolution and evolutionists by creationist literature.
Really? Grossly misinformed? What creationist literature, by the way? Dr. Dino?

Then, after linking us to a group of articles on transitional fossils on that highly reliable Wikipedia website, Josh states,
It's remarkable that we have any transitional fossils at all, since over 99.9% of all living organisms do not fossilize.
What is remarkable is that Josh, who claims to be a big reader, tends to ignore the vast amounts of creationist literature on the subject of transitional fossils. Does he really think no young earth creationists has provided any sort of answer or a study interacting with the claims of transitional fossils? Here is just a smattering from an on-line apologetic ministry. But even more remarkable, however, is how Josh blindly accepts the evolutionary history of the world seeing that only 99.9 percent of all living organisms do not fossilize. How can evolutionists be so dogmatic with such flimsy, specious evidence?

Joshua then gets down to brass tacks,
Evidence will not change most creationist minds, because evidence is interpreted from presuppositions. A person who presupposes the Bible is wrong if evolution is true is not likely to see any evidence as supporting evolution. It's just not going to happen unless they are willing to deny their faith.
Everyone operates from presuppositions, even theistic evolutionists. Joshua must think his new found convictions transcends presuppositions. However, evolutionists are exercising faith as well. Evidence won't change an evolutionist's mind either, because evidence is interpreted from presuppositions, just like the creationist.

Then Josh illustrates my point,
If they are right, we must reject Genesis as nonsense, for we are faced with irreconcilable contradictions with the text itself (like the differences between the two creation accounts), with logic (like how the millions of earth's species could fit and be fed in a boat for a year), and with natural history (like how the fossil record contradicts the timeframe and sequence of both creation accounts).
He means irreconcilable contradictions for theistic evolutionists. There are no "two creation accounts," millions of species didn't fit into Noah's ark, and the fossil record is a man-made construct and there are much better models from a creationist perspective that interprets the evidence than what has historically been presented by evolutionists. I am sure he is aware of Dr. Andrew Snelling's massive two volume work on geology just published that addresses a lot of this material. Or an important work released last year I once highlighted called Coming to Grips with Genesis.

Then Joshua lays down the gauntlet,

But Christian scholars disagree as to how Genesis should be interpreted. There are many interpretations that allow for an old earth and evolution. For example, local creation theory says that the focus is on the local area, not the world; gap theory says that there was a catastrophe and a re-creation in-between verses 1 and 2; day-age theory says the days are ages; revelatory day theory says God revealed to the author of Genesis how he created the world in six days, but did not create the world in that timeframe; framework view says the six days provide a literary framework for displaying the acts of creation.
Christian scholars disagree. Never heard that one before. With all this disagreeing going on among so many "scholars" we can never be certain about Genesis and creation, right. What are we arguing about? One thing Joshua thinks we can know: we certainly can be certain that the young earth view is stupid and that evolution is right. But if Josh has actually studied these views, he would learn the proponents chose their particular view because he has a compromised view of God's authority. Scientific principle has equal if not greater weight in authority than scripture, so scripture must be conformed to the so-called scientific principles of interpretation in order to be rescued from irrelevancy.

Then Joshua wraps it up,
My journey isn't over. I know I still have a lot to learn. I recognize this and try to be open to new ideas and to being wrong. I don't want to defend my faith instead of seeking truth - for truth is, and has always been, my goal.
Dontcha just love the humility? I don't believe it, however. It is a faux-humility. Who's truth is he seeking after? God's truth? Those who seek after God's truth do not, as Dan Phillips notes in the conclusion of his Team Pyro post, ... take the clear Word of God and respond with "Hath God really said"-- that is, to put energies into defending compromise, dithering, uncertainty, unbelief.

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FBT Updates

Continuing to keep my public pleased...
I add one more message to my other blogging on my series in the book of Daniel.

The Testimony of Fulfilled Prophecy (Daniel 11:1-35)

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Gleanings from Daniel [7]

The Coming Kingdom [Daniel 2:44-49]

One of the key features of OT eschatology concerns the future kingdom God will set up on this earth. This kingdom is not meant to be just a higher order of spirituality that merely co-exists with the present world. Church-State or the Kingdom of God/Church along side the kingdoms of men. A "two-kingdom" theology is not talked about in scripture.

Rather, what is revealed in Scripture is a total and complete replacement of present conditions on earth. Furthermore, it is a kingdom brought about and established by God with His Messiah having absolute sovereignty over all other nations on the earth.

For example:

Isaiah 2:2-4

2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD's house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.
3 Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.
Micah 4:1-8

1 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD's house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And peoples shall flow to it.
2 Many nations shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

3 He shall judge between many peoples, And rebuke strong nations afar off; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war any more.

4 But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, And no one shall make them afraid; For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.

5 For all people walk each in the name of his god, But we will walk in the name of the LORD our God Forever and ever.

6 " In that day," says the LORD, "I will assemble the lame, I will gather the outcast And those whom I have afflicted;
7 I will make the lame a remnant, And the outcast a strong nation; So the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion From now on, even forever.
8 And you, O tower of the flock, The stronghold of the daughter of Zion, To you shall it come, Even the former dominion shall come, The kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem."
Zechariah 14:16-21
16 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain.
18 If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the LORD strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

20 In that day "HOLINESS TO THE LORD" shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the LORD's house shall be like the bowls before the altar.

21 Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the LORD of hosts. Everyone who sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them. In that day there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts.
The NT carries over this idea of a divinely established world wide kingdom and expands upon it in such passages as Matthew 25:31-46; Luke 1:31-33; Acts 1:6, 7; Acts 3:17-21; and 2 Peter 3:3-13.

Returning to Daniel 2, we have revealed to us through the dream of a heathen king and interpreted by God's prophet another significant prophecy concerning the coming eschatological Kingdom.

The vision was a dream of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. He saw an enormous metallic statue made of gold, silver, bronze, and iron. A final mixture of ceramic and iron made up the feet. This statue, according to Daniel, represents five major kingdoms.

The first four, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Then a final kingdom that is a confederacy of 10 kings. The statue is then demolished by a rock, that grows into a mountain. It is this rock that pictures God's eschatological kingdom.

There are five observations we can make about this kingdom:

- The Timing of this Kingdom

Verse 44 says this kingdom is established during the time of these kings. Who are they? Some think they are previous kingdoms already mentioned. However, the immediate antecedent is those kingdoms associated with the 10 toes of ceramic and iron. These 10 kingdoms have yet to be manifested in history. They are yet future.

- The Origin of this Kingdom

The God of heaven will establish this kingdom. It is a rock cut out without hands. No human political involvement by man-made means of wars or intrigue. This is a supernaturally created kingdom.

- The Duration of this Kingdom

Not left to other people. This was a charateristic of the previous kingdoms of men - They were knocked down and other earthly kingdoms replaced them. This kingdom destroys all other previous kingdoms completely and entirely; and it shall stand forever. It is eternal.

- The Nature of this Kingdom

The four kingdoms men represented by the four metals were real, historical, geopolitical kingdoms. The fifth kingdom represented by the 10 toes of mixed ceramic and iron also must be a real, historical geopolitical kingdom as well. This means God kingdom represented by the rock cut out without hands which smashes the statue must too be a real, historical, geopolitical kingdom. This rock destroys all earthly kingdoms. Christ did not do this at His first advent. Men's kingdoms still exist today in all of their unjustness. Moreover, the rock's destruction of those kingdoms is swift and catastrophic, not slow and gradual. When it comes, it quickly fills the entire earth and replaces all of the kingdoms of men.

- The Certainty of Christ's Kingdom

As Daniel wraps up his interpretation of Neb's. dream, he affirms that this is what God has made known to him. Because God has said it, these events are not a mere possibility, they most certainly will come to pass. Some of the events in this dream have, and some are yet to come.

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Hill Billies in England

Against all great odds, some fundamentalist "Babbests" from down in the hollers of Dogpatch, Arkansas, managed to get a hold of shoes, buy an airplane ticket to England, and found their way to the local universities where they proceeded to poison the minds of the British youth with their creationism nonsense.

And can you believe it? As a result of their efforts AN EVER GROWING NUMBER OF STUDENTS ARE REJECTING DARWINIAN EVOLUTION!

And in spite of the fact some courts here in the States have ruled creationism unscientific. Yah... A court ruling is the final, infallible determiner of what is true. Uh Huh...

Academics Fight Rise of Creationism at Universities

So alarmed by this threat to free thought and reason, academics have resorted to bringing out the big guns to repel this intellectual onslaught. The Royal Society, the leading British scientific academy, is arranging for some guy named Steve Jones to debate any and all challengers, both Islamic and Christian, to make their case for creationism against evolution.

When I learn of such panicked, crisis responses to stem the hemorrhaging of Darwinian apostates, I always wonder what it was exactly that casued these individuals to switch teams, as it were? England, like the United States, is saturated in evolutionary ideology from kindergarten to graduate level studies. Nearly every TV science documentary to be found on any station both public or commercial promotes Darwinian evolution. Evolution is soaked into every area of life, so its not like these students haven't been "properly" educated. These are the Royal Society members. Certainly Darwinian educators in both school and in popular culture can't be so bad at communicating their position over a life time that a young person would immediately abandon everything he or she was taught to become a Bible thumpin' creationist over the weekend?

Interestingly, one of the groups cited in the article causing much of the turmoil for university educators is the Muslim students. Islamic students hand out literature opposing Darwinian evolution, as well as lecture against it at their meetings. However, one should take note that Muslims are more akin to what evolutionists believe than you might think. Citing a Muslim student, the author of the article writes,

He added that God had not created mankind literally in six days. "It's not six earth days," he said, it could refer to several thousands of years but it had been an act of creation and not evolution.

What appears at odds here is not the particulars between to kinds of "science," one advocated by evolutionists and another by the Islamic creationists. Rather, it is the nature of origins. Did an act of creation start things or did random, undirected and purposeless chance start things? The Muslim student suggests he has no problems with the particulars, like for instance the age of the universe and earth, the interpretation of the fossil record, understanding geological forces, and so on. The disagreement is more along the lines of whether Allah created initially and directed the creation. In a nutshell, it is a disagreement between progressive creationism or maybe theistic evolutionary theories taught by the religious believers on these campuses, as opposed to pure, materialistic naturalism taught by the Darwinianists, who are for the most part non-religious (perhaps even anti-religious) atheists.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Anthropo-stupid Global Warming














On the heels of my latest post reviling the out right fraud that is the "science" of man-made climate change is an interesting radio interview I heard yesterday afternoon (2/16/10) on one of the local talk radio stations.

It concerns meteorologist, Anthony Watts, who maintains the website, Watts Up With That? Contrary to the speculative, beard stroking voodoo "science" those chaps at the University of East Anglia have been engaged in for the last 20 years, Mr. Watts began to gather physical evidence to determine the accuracy of those little weather stations that sit at various locations around the world.

Seeing that a lot of the information environmental beard strokers need in order to draw up their hockey stick diagrams and wring hands over polar bear populations is determined by the data gathered by these little weather stations, it's kinda important to establish how reliable their instruments are with collecting that data.

What Mr. Watts discovered, with the help of a lot of other similar weather geeks around the country, is that those stations do not meet the so-called governmental standards of calibration in order to provide the most precise data. In fact, out of the hundreds of them, maybe 10 percent met those standards. All the others are giving inaccurate weather information due to artificial causes like where they are sitting in relation to heat sources or microwave towers.

For example, one of those little stations in Tuscon, AZ, was found to be sitting on top of a big slab of black asphalt. Does anyone question whether the instruments would be precise sitting on a slab of asphalt in Tuscon, AZ? A few years ago I was given a little digital thermometer. I nailed the sensor to the side of our house and it began beaming the temperature from outside into a little digital read-out sitting on my book shelf. The first day I had it working it was reading 117 degrees for the outside temp. It was certainly a warm day, maybe 91 or so, but 117? Then I realized I had the sensor sitting in the direct, mid-morning sunlight. Once I moved it to a permanent location in the shade, it faithfully recorded the right temperature to maybe being a degree off one way or the other.

Thus, just like my sensor, where a weather station is located will have an impact on the precision of its instruments. Take a look at the picture up above. One of the key weather stations at the Rome airport in Italy sits at the end of the runway in the direct path of the jet engine exhaust. I have never stood directly behind the engines of a 747 as it builds up power for take off, but I can make a fair guess that it would have an impact upon the reliability of weather data collected at a station sitting in the direct path.

Now, why all of this is relevant is quite simple: State and local governments are passing "green" legislation that will severely impact our everyday way of living and the environmental bureaucrats are eagerly going to enforce those laws upon individuals and businesses. But those laws are passed due largely impart by a misinformed hysteria promoted by a small cadre of cranks masquerading as "scientists" who weren't reading the information correctly to begin with because the sensors were more than likely reporting inaccurate information!

Those interested in listening to Anthony Watts' interview can do so HERE. You'll have to listen to some California related banter, but the interview is informative. Scroll down until you find the 5PM hour for Feb. 16th.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why You Don't Take An Infant to the Beach

Here's the number one reason babies DON'T belong on a beach!

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Peer Reviewed Snake Oil Salesmen

I recently was involved with agitating a nest of young progressive minded folks regarding the pseudo-scientific hoax people call "climate change." It use to be called "global warming" until the environmental hustlers reorganized their marketing campaign.

The liberal leaning moderator -- of what I consider to be a well done local news and opinion blog -- occasionally makes it his annoying habit of highlighting things Sarah Palin says. Even when what Sarah Palin says has absolutely no relevance to anything going on in the town of Santa Clarita where I live. This particular time she was in Redding, CA, last week which is, if I am not mistaken, about a 10 hour drive north of my home town.

At any rate, what got her noticed is the fact that she likened global warming, er, I mean climate change studies, to "scientists" selling us snake oil. She is right of course, but because it is Sarah Palin saying it instead of Oprah or Matt Damon, her comment supposedly exposes her as an idiot or something.

I then left a comment agreeing with her sentiment, but in addition to agreeing with Palin, I directed folks to some links to the climategate scandal I have noted here last November-December. But like Palestinian protesters drawn to a burning car, out came the anthropogenic climate changing faithful to hurl cruel mockery upon me.

Now, most reasonable people would scratch their heads and ask, "I wonder why NPR hasn't mentioned this climategate thing?"

Nope, not here.

Instead of self-reflection upon what they had been told to believe by the zeitgeist of their modern day echo chamber, it was suggested that this climategate thing was a right-wing blogger conspiracy. One person noted a Wikipedia entry about one of the writers blogging on climategate stating that he was prone to exaggerated hysteria. Yeah. Wikipedia. That infallible vanguard of truth. Another commenter wrote that these climate critics aren't "peer-reviewed." Only "peer-reviewed scientist" should be offering any criticism and the consensus of all legitimate scientists undoubtedly say man-made global warming is real.

Well. As the saying goes, "time and truth go hand in hand." In this case, just three days later:

There has been no global warming since 1995 (be warned of the semi-risque celebrity pictures in the side-bar)

Or so says one of the main climate changing gurus, Phil Jones.

And more from the WSJ about the so-called "settled science" of climate change:

The Continuing Climate Meltdown

Maybe we can get a consensus of scientists together to settle the science on Man-Bear-Pig?

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

FBT Updates

Because my public demanded it, there are two more MP3 additions to my continuing Daniel series on line at my other website: Studies in the Book of Daniel.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Rivers of Mud

In case you are wondering what it is like to have your house and yard flooded with mud, the LA Times has this panoramic photo report:

Mudslide Fills La Canada Flintridge home

It may load slower for you non-high speed internet folks out in podunkville.

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Moral Fortitude

From the Telegraph over in jolly ole England comes this grand announcement:

Atheists just as ethical as churchgoers

People who have no religion know right from wrong just as well as regular worshippers, according to the study.

I wish I had a dollar for every study that has been published announcing some wack-a-doodle idea as "scientific."

I don't doubt atheists, or even the non-Christians religious, are moral and know right from wrong. That is not under dispute. The Bible says quite plainly that all men act according to God's law instinctively (Romans 1-2). That's because all men everywhere are created in God's image. I expect atheists whose parents raised them right by making them go to church to act according to moral values.

What is in dispute, however, is how the atheist justifies his morals. He lives according to a worldview that interprets everything along naturalistic and material terms. Moral standards, however, are not material. So where did the rules of morality come from if we only live in a strictly naturalistic and material universe? Oh yes, I know some philosophizing atheists attempt to explain the presence of morals as being social constructs we had to develop as humans evolved in order to survive and keep the species going. But really, is raping a child a wrong thing only now in our modern culture or has it always been a wrong thing even when we were allegedly "ape men"?

Think of "Ardi." Would raping a child be wrong for "Ardi?" If such an atrocity wasn't wrong when "Ardi" was around, what makes it wrong now in 2010? Because we all just naturally came to that conclusion? Let's say, according to evolutionary theory, the human race is around for another 12,000 years. In the year 4578, if the then society no longer prosecuted rapists, would raping children still be wrong? It is these "why" questions these studies need to explore, not whether or not atheists know right from wrong. Atheists may know it, but why do they; and according to the philosophy of their chosen worldview, why should we care?

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bias? What Bias?

Come to find out there maybe some significant conflict of interest in that Prop. 8 case being held in San Francisco. The judge, Vaughn Walker, is a homosexual. Do you think he has a horse in this race?

National Review has the break down: Judge Walker's Skewed Judgment.

One of the more disturbing rulings he issued,

Take the incredibly intrusive discovery, grossly underprotective of First Amendment associational rights, that Walker authorized into the internal communications of the Prop 8 sponsors — a ruling overturned, in part, by an extraordinary writ of mandamus issued by a Ninth Circuit panel consisting entirely of Clinton appointees.

Basically, he wanted lawyers to have the power to read the private emails of Prop 8 sponsors and use any alleged "damning" evidence in the trial against them. Amazing.

And the secular left never believe they have a bias.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Gleanings from Daniel [6]

The Latter-Days [Daniel 2:28]


Before moving to the next portion of Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream in chapter 2, I believe it may be helpful to zero in on verse 28. Daniel tells Neb. that this dream he had pertains specifically to events that will take place in the latter days.

The latter days is an important eschatological and prophetic concept. The phrase is used at least 14 times in the entire OT and 5 times in the NT. In the OT, the phrase is translated from the Hebrew word, acharith, meaning "final" or "last" or "the end." It is translated in our English Bibles normally as "latter days" or "the last days."

The phrase "in the latter days" tends to indicate not only the absolute end, or what we know as the full consummation of the final judgment, but also entails many of the events leading up to that end. Thus, the "latter days" can stretch over an extended period of time, which is exactly what we have during this age of the NT Church for the last 2,000 years.

The latter days is first mentioned in Genesis 49:1 where Jacob blesses his sons. But before he tells his sons what will happen to them, he says, Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days, or the "latter days." The prophecy beginning in verse 8 is the one he gives Judah, and it is most significant, because we know from later revelation that it is not only through the tribe of Judah that the kingly line over Israel comes, but also the Messiah comes. Verse 10 states, The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.

There are two important concepts mentioned in this passage:

The scepter. A scepter speaks of authority, but not only any authority, but a regal authority. Someone who is a king and has authority to reign over a nation and its people. The prophecy speaks to the fact that it was through Judah's line that the kingly line of Israel came.

Shiloh. Moreover, Jacob mentions that "Shiloh" will come. Shiloh is a mysterious word. There are two possible ways of looking at it:

First, as a Messianic title. Shiloh has the idea of "peaceful" or "peace." If the word is a Messianic title, it would describe the Messiah's peace making authority. In the case of Jesus, making peace between God and fallen men, or the broken relationship between the LORD and Israel.

However, a second possible way to look at it is as a compound word that produces the phrase translated as "who's it is." Meaning, the one who has the authority to wield the scepter and bring ultimate obedience.

Either alternative is possible, but the second one seems to fit the overall context as it is connected with the word scepter. That is because Jesus alone is the only one who can wield a scepter of absolute authority. He is the rightful king because He is our creator (John 1:3), our redeemer (Revelation 5:9), and the rightful one to inherit David's throne (Luke 1:31, 32). Jesus is the anticipated coming Messiah.

There is a second interesting passage that expands upon the concept of the coming Messiah in the latter days found in Numbers 24:14. Numbers 22-24 tells the story of the false prophet Balaam, really who was a god broker -- an "expert" in all the regional religions and the various deities associated with them. His expertise in these matters gave him the "know-how" to invoke the specified deity to either curse or bless its worshipers.

Balaam had been hired by Balak, king of the Moabites, to move Israel's God to curse them. As we know the story, God forbade Balaam from doing such a thing. When Balaam blessed Israel rather than cursing them, Balak was angry for not getting his money worth for dealing with his enemies. Balaam responded to Balak saying he had told him he was not allowed to curse Israel, and then he gave a prophecy about them and their power over the Moabites "in the latter days." (Numbers 24:14).

The oracle that follows states in verse 17, I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, to batter the brow of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult.

What is noteworthy with Balaam's words is this Star coming out of Jacob, the word "star" being a Messianic title, who will wield a scepter, or have the authority to reign, and who will defeat Israel's enemies, including the Moabites.

The terminology speaks of an ultimate King, one whose kingdom will be over the entire earth, a kingdom that will come in the latter days.

With this revelation, how are we to understand the "latter days?"

As we examine other texts, I believe the phrase covers 3 broad theological themes.

1) The latter days seem to be initiated with the first Advent of Jesus Christ and then consummated at the second Advent of Jesus Christ.

In Luke 1:31-33, Gabriel says to Mary,

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.

Gabriel says her baby would be given the throne (from where one wields a scepter) of His father David. And He will reign forever and His kingdom will have no end. Here we see the prophecy that Christ will establish, or initiate His reign.

Moving to Acts 2:17-21, Peter quotes from the prophet Joel, who prophesied how the Spirit would be poured out in the last days (latter days). Peter states that the manifestation of the Spirit his audience was witnessing demonstrated these last days were upon them. However, Peter was not saying that the Kingdom of God had fully come in the form of the NT Church and there was no future Kingdom to be anticipated. We know from Peter's words in his second epistle, that he exhorted his readers to be in anticipation of an eschatological coming of "the Day of the Lord," (2 Peter 3:3-13) a coming, that according to the OT, ushered in the Kingdom of God.

2) The latter days also entails Israel's disobedience and restoration.

We see Israel's disobedience and restoration being discussed in such prophets as Hosea 3:4, 5 which says,

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.

Micah 4:1, 2 says something along similar lines as does Isaiah 11:12, Jeremiah 31:10, and as even as far back as Deuteronomy 30:3, 5. Israel will be in a state of disobedience, where God sends them out of the land. Hosea says they will "abide many days" without a king, meaning they won't have any kingdom in which to call home as it were. After they have been in a state of disobedience, they are brought back to the Lord in obedience and will be restored to their land. This takes place as Micah notes, in the latter days.

3) The latter days include the judgment of the nations.

It is during these latter days that all nations will be judged. Again, Micah 4:3ff. tells of the time when the peoples of the nations will be rebuked and judged. This is also the picture we have in the remainder of Neb's. dream in Daniel 2: the four major kingdoms comprising the statue, are supplanted and destroyed -- judged -- by the rock, which is God's coming Messianic Kingdom.

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Do' H

RFK, Jr., (for you non-Kennedy family aficionados, that's Bobby Kennedy's boy) when he is not flying around the world in his private jet to deliver his finger wagging lectures to us wasteful slobs, likes to write hand wringing opinion pieces.

In Virginia, the weather also has changed dramatically. Recently arrived residents in the northern suburbs, accustomed to today's anemic winters, might find it astonishing to learn that there were once ski runs on Ballantrae Hill in McLean, with a rope tow and local ski club. Snow is so scarce today that most Virginia children probably don't own a sled. But neighbors came to our home at Hickory Hill nearly every winter weekend to ride saucers and Flexible Flyers.

In those days, I recall my uncle, President Kennedy, standing erect as he rode a toboggan in his top coat, never faltering until he slid into the boxwood at the bottom of the hill. Once, my father, Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy, brought a delegation of visiting Eskimos home from the Justice Department for lunch at our house. They spent the afternoon building a great igloo in the deep snow in our backyard. My brothers and sisters played in the structure for several weeks before it began to melt. On weekend afternoons, we commonly joined hundreds of Georgetown residents for ice skating on Washington's C&O Canal, which these days rarely freezes enough to safely skate.

Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil and its carbon cronies continue to pour money into think tanks whose purpose is to deceive the American public into believing that global warming is a fantasy.
[Source: RFK, Jr 15 months ago: Global warming means no cold or snow in DC]

As of Feb. 7, 2010:
Historic snow storm shuts down federal government. [Source]

The "federal government" for you who are geographically unaware functions in DC.



Back up in that first opinion piece the first two comments are stellar:

#1, named GA, writes,
one snow fall and and you spout off negative comments about RJK jr??? Get your facts straight. No where does he say it will never snow again. Also, he gets his facts from scientists just like the rest of us who enjoy living and want to protect this Earth from ignorant or non-caring people like yourself.

Write an article of importance rather than attacking someone who is spending their life doing good for the rest of us and this planet.

I suppose you think global warming is fake. If so, why do people die when they run their car in their garage? Take billions of cars and think about what it's doing to this planet.

#2, anonymous, responds,
Your car produces Carbon Monoxide not Carbon Dioxide. Carbon Monoxide kills you when you run your car in your garage. Carbon Dioxide which true believers like GA believe cause imaginary global warming is produced when people including GA breathe. RFK, Jr. is a pompous rich do-gooder who couldn't get a real job if his life depended on it. He probably didn't even write the article Mr. Freddoso quoted but in the long line of Kennedy frauds had someone else ghost write it. Gawd help us all from the Kennedy's and their ilk.

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Friday, February 05, 2010

Defending Premillennialism [5]

Outlining the Basics

Since having spent three posts providing a bit of foundational work regarding hermeneutics and the application of hermeneutics to the subject of eschatology, I want to begin pressing on to studying individual passages. Additionally I want to interact with specific objections raised against premillennialism by the various non-premillennial positions that I will note as we move along.

However, before we do that, it may be helpful to first provide a general outline of the basic tenets of premillennialism so as to have a focal point for my exegesis when I come to those passages. I did touch on the historical background of premillennialism in my previous study on eschatology. That post can be read HERE.

Also, I have left off from any discussion regarding distinctions between so-called historic premillennialism and dispensational premillennialism in its varied forms. Some readers may think I am being thoughtless and irresponsible to do so. Believe me, I understand there are theological nuances, and proponents of each variation will adamantly insist those nuances are significant, but the historic position, along with classic and progressive dispensationalists, all have to affirm some core theological points in order to be premillennial. Some may say the distinction dispensationalists make between Israel and the Church is so sharp it brings about a radical alternative to the historic group, but premillennialism, in order for it to be true, must for example recognized a restoration of the nation Israel to a physical land. It is those similarities I am seeking to note.

The following represents the main outline I took from Robert Duncan Culver's excellent little book defending premillennialism from the book of Daniel called Daniel and the Latter-days. I felt his outline of premillennialism was succinct, but at the same time precisely detailing the points I wish to defend, and even though the book is out of print, it is thankfully available on line, so it is readily accessible. The points under consideration here are located in "Part 1" of the book, chapters 1, 2, and 3 in the table of contents, but linked as part 3, part 4, and part 5 at the site. If folks need more information fleshing out the details they can dig a bit deeper for themselves at the website.

The basic points of premillennialism are as follows:

1) The period of time between the resurrection of the just and of the unjust.


2) The period of Satan's imprisonment.


3) An initial stage in the everlasting kingdom of Christ.


4) A period begun by the visible return of Christ in glory to judge and rule the nations.


5) A period closed by the final eradication of all evil from God's universe at the final judgment of the wicked.


6) A period during which the saints of the first resurrection will be associated with Christ in His reign.

Related to these 6 major tenets are 3 important details taking place before the millennium and leading up to it:

1) A final personal Antichrist shall appear near the close of the present age who will become master of the world and will be destroyed by Christ at His coming.

2) A period of great tribulation for Israel is to transpire during Antichrist's oppression, from which deliverance will be provided by Christ at His coming.


3) The closing days of the present age will witness the restoration of Israel to the land and the conversion of the nation, to be followed in the millennium by the fulfillment of the Old Testament covenant promises distinctive to that nation.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Heh?

The Right Reverend N.T. Wright explains to us dunder headed literalists, why Genesis chapters 1 through 3 can't mean what we think they mean:

N.T. Wright on Adam and Eve

You see: It doesn't matter how wack-a-doodle your take on the Bible is or how many illogical, grammatical inconsistencies it causes with the details of the text, if you speak with an erudite British sounding accent, you are never to be questioned.

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Monday, February 01, 2010

By Logos

I have been meaning to plug John Byl's blog for sometime now.

Bylogos

John Byl is one of my favorite authors, even though he has written (at least to my current knowledge) two books:

The Divine Challenge: On Matter, Mind, Math and Meaning

and

God and Cosmos: A Christian View of Time, Space, and the Universe

The first book of his I mention, The Divine Challenge, is hands down one of the better books in print outlining the principles of presuppositional apologetics.

At any rate, I say all of that to take note on some articles at his blog I have enjoyed, including the most recent highlighting fraud in scientific research and the authenticity of the so-called "peer review" process.

Can We Trust Published Scientific Data?

Also, I have enjoyed catching up on his past entries. For example, his interaction with R. Scott Clark on the Klinian reading of Genesis, debates in the age of the earth among Reformed evangelicals, and a couple of articles on just how reformed is the Reformed academic: Part I and Part II.

There is a lot of fine writing on apologetics to be found here.

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