July 29, 2004

Writers Block? Just Google Moore!!

Have I mentioned how little I care for Michael Moore?  Thought so.

"We were used to such messages in the communist days. Everybody has open eyes and can understand that this is propaganda. It was a weak film that tells us nothing new."
-- VACLAV KLAUS, president of the Czech Republic, after watching the Michael Moore documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11."


Pretty cool when the president of the Czech Republic agrees with my taste in propaganda films.  And notice the comparison to communist propaganda?  No surprise where Mr. Moore gets his training from.

Thanks for the heads-up goes to By Farther Steps, who has just been added to the blogroll.  Currently, he's discussing hell, and our misconceptions of it.  All my annihilationist friends should head over there and learn something!!

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July 28, 2004

Christian Carnival

The Carnival has arrived at Fringe.  Stop by and check it out -- AND I have a post there!  VftP returns to the carnival -- vacation really has helped me get my act together.

There are some outstanding posts there -- I'm off to read tight now.  Go ye, and do likewise.

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July 26, 2004

Christian Carnival


This coming Wednesday (7-2 the Christian Carnival will be hosted at Fringe. If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get read, and possibly pick up a few readers.

To enter, your post should be of a Christian nature, but this does not exclude ones that are political (or otherwise) in nature from a Christian point of view. Please send only one post dated since the last Christian Carnival. (7-22 or after) Then, do the following:

email me (Jeremiah Lewis) at [E-mail address redacted]

Please put "Christian Carnival" in the subject line so I don't delete it accidentally. Please provide the following:

Title of your Blog
URL of your Blog
Title of your post
URL linking to that post
Short description of the post

The cut off is Tuesday July 27 at 11PM Eastern Daylight Time.

 

And I'm ON TIME!!!!!  YAAAY ME!  I can even get something sent in, so I'll be IN the Carnival this time, after a long absence.

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New "Feature"

It's not really a feature, and I feel kinda dumb for not having done this before, but if you click on wither of the Pew pictures at the top of the page, it will take you to the main page.  For example, if you click here from a search engine, or an aggregator, and you want to go to the main page, just click the picture.

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Nobody Caught Me!!!!

I made a rather large mistake yesterday -- large especially for someone who is an aspiring church historian like I am.  I said First Great Awakening, in connection with Andrew Fuller's ministry.  Fuller was involved in the Second Great Awakening -- a fact that I have fixed in yesterday's post.

Nobody caught me -- and I can think of at least one other Southern Seminary student who probably should have .......

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July 25, 2004

Timely Advice from 1785

From Andrew Fuller, one of the most influential theologians/pastors in Baptist history.

Christians are said to be the light of the world, and the salt of the earth -- do we answer these characters?  Is the world enlightened by us?  Does a savor of Christ accompany our spirit and conversation?  Our business, as Christians, is practically to be holding forth the word of life.  Have we, by our earnestness, sufficiently held forth its importance, or by our chaste conversations, coupled with fear, its holy tendency?  Have we all along, by a becoming firmness of spirit, made it evident that religion is no low, mean or dastardly business?  Have we by a cheerful complacency in God's service, gospel, and providence sufficiently held forth the excellency of his government and the happy tendency of his holy religion?  Doubtless, the most holy and upright Christians in these matters will find great cause for reflection, and room for amendment; but there are not many who scarcely ever think about them, or, if they do, it only ammounts to this, to sigh, and go backward, resting satisfied with a few lifeless complaints, withouth any real and abiding efforts to have things otherwise?
from his letter "Causes of declension in religion, and means of revival


Fuller wrote that letter at a time of spiritual downturn for the church.  Attendance was low, membership was lukewarm, and nobody seemed to know what to do about it.  Sound familiar?  As I read the letter, it struck me that Fuller could be writing to us, today, about our situation.  We live in a time of increased learning, yet we learn little of the things of God.  What we do learn is rarely applied, as if God's Truth is for another time.  Fuller writes that if we are to make a difference in our world, we must take God's truth and make it real in our own lives.  Be salt.  Be light.

Salt doesn't only season a portion of a dish -- it lends its taste to the whole thing.  We cannot only be salt on Sunday.  We must be salt 24-7-365.  There are no furloughs in God's army; no three-day-passes.  We have been called to make a difference in this world, and there are a lot of people slacking.

I'd challenge everyone who reads this to thing about what Fuller wrote.  People listened to him in his day.  The immediate result was a time of concerted, dedicated prayer for souls, and for a revival of the church.  The long-term goal was a little something historians call the Second Great Awakening.  Sounds like Fuller knew what he was talking about.  I think he still has something to say to us, if we'd only listen to him.

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July 24, 2004

Study of Mark: Mark 4:1-20


4:1Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3 “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. 6 And when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that
“they may indeed see but not perceive,and may indeed hear but not understand,lest they should turn and be forgiven.”
13 And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.  18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”


This is a BIG passage to study, but I've included Christ's explanation of the parable, so I don't have to comment there.  What I want to do is talk a little about Christ's use of parables.

Sometimes we think that the purpose was to make things easier to understand.  But it's clear from this passage that his parables were NOT easily understood by those who heard them.  In fact, it seems that Jesus is using parables so that people CAN'T understand Him.

The people who followed Him to see the miracles and to be healed couldn't handle the implications of His being the Messiah.  They had an idea of the Messiah as a political hero, who was going to free Israel from the oppression of the Romans.  Christ didn't want them to think He was going to do that -- he wanted to make clear that His kingdom was not of this earth, and He was here for a totally different purpose.  The twelve He had chosen had been given understanding by God, so that they could see His role (and as we read in Acts, they STILL didn't get it), so He taught them in a way that only they would be able to understand, or so that they would receive the explanation later on. 

The Holy Spirit has been given so that everyone might be able to believe -- one of the purposes of the Holy Spirit is to help people to understand God's message.  The religious leaders of Christ's time couldn't understand that message fully because they had closed their minds off to Him.  They had decided what Messiah was going to be, and they weren't going to be persuaded otherwise.  This is what Jesus was talking about when He talked about new wine in old wineskins -- the new message of the Gospel wouldn't fit into the Jews' existing religious program.  A new wineskin had to be made, and that is what Jesus was training His disciples to do.  Our mission now is to take that new wine to the world -- and give them the new wineskins to hold it as well.

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July 21, 2004

Someone Agrees With Me (Sort Of) #2

Who says lightning doesn't strike twice?  Take a look at Robert Spenser's opinion on Nicholas Kristof's artice that I talked about yesterday.

(Thanks to GetReligion for the heads up.)

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The Carnival is Coming!!

The Christian Carnival, that is!


This coming Wednesday, July 21, is the next Christian Carnival, and will be hosted by Mr. Standfast. If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get read, and possibly pick up readers in the process or highlight your favorite post from the past week.


And once again, I miss the deadline.  Sigh.  Head over to Mr. Standfast and check out the Carnival.  Maybe vacation will help me get my act together.

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July 20, 2004

By the Way -- New Feature!!!

In case you haven't noticed - top middle of the page is a search bar!  I figured that there were enough posts that it might be helpful in case you want to find a specific post -- I've used it a couple of times.  Especially if you're here from the Fundamentalist Forums and are trying to find my posts about the Constitution Party

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Advisory!!

Sporatic posting ahead -- as if you didn't already know.  My mother-in-law is out of the hospital, but not really out of the woods yet.  She goes back to the doctor on Wednesday for another checkup.  My wife is still there taking care of her, and I'm trying to do about five different things at once here at home.  My mom and aunt and uncle are due here any time today.  Then Thursday I head to Virginia to start the trip to the beach.

 
I should be able to post at the beach -- I'm taking the laptop with me, and I'll have some time in the evenings to post.  Hopefully, there won't be a lull like there has been the past few days.

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Jesus, Jihad, and the New York Times

Nicholas Kristof strikes again. (free membership required).
 
For those who don't want to register, or just don't feel like clicking the link, I'll cut and past a bit for you, but I recommend reading the whole thing.  And remember -- this is the guy who not long ago was talking about how the left should be more tolerant of us.
 

These [the Left Behind books] are the best-selling novels for adults in the United States, and they have sold more than 60 million copies worldwide. The latest is "Glorious Appearing," which has Jesus returning to Earth to wipe all non-Christians from the planet. It's disconcerting to find ethnic cleansing celebrated as the height of piety.
I wasn't aware that Christians were an ethnic group, Mr. Kristof.  I'm sure the many Jewish, Arab, Mexican, Asian, African, etc. Christians in the world would like to know WHICH ethnic group Christians are supposed to be.  Also forgotten are the thousands of evangelical Christians who don't agree with the eschatology in the books. 
These scenes also raise an eschatological problem: Could devout fundamentalists really enjoy paradise as their friends, relatives and neighbors were heaved into hell?
And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason for evangelism.  Make sure that they DON'T get heaved into Hell.  Thanks for the reminder, though I doubt that many would see it as an eschatological problem.

 
I was listening to the radio last night as a preacher was talking about Revelation.  He said that it's a book about God's wrath on sinners.  He mentioned a bumper sticker that I had seen before -- God's coming back, and He's not happy.  The whole point of Revelation is that God is not happy with humanity in general.  He's laid out the rules, and we patently refuse to play by them.  He gives us His Son as a sacrifice, so that our sins can be forgiven.  Our attitude?  "Thanks, but no thanks.  We'll get along just fine without you."  There has not been a time in history when God has been worshipped even by a majority of the poplulation of Earth -- even now, when so many people profess Christianity. 

 
To sum up the rest of Mr. Kristof's article, it is an impassioned plea for tolerance -- including religious tolerance.  Not the kind he talked about before -- he wants Christians to give up the whole "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No man comes to the Father except by Me" bit, continue to do good things for people everywhere, and play nicely with others.
 
If we do that, we condemn people everywhere to hell.  I'm not willing to let my friends, family members, or neighbors get "heaved into Hell", Mr. Kristof, so I won't be taking your advice.  I'm going to continue to live my life dedicated to making sure that if someone I know does end up going there, it won't be because I allowed it to happen.  If you know a Christian who is willing to do that, just so that people think they're nice or tolerant, then that person has a warped sense of Christianity, and you should run from them.

 
 

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July 15, 2004

Light Night

I'm getting ready to head to Virginia in the morning.  My wife was there while I was at Southern, working on her thesis.
 
Tuesday morning, her mother had a heart attack.  Tuesday night, she had another one.
 
So I'm headed down there to get our daughter and bring her back up here.  I have no idea when my wife will be home -- not counting on it before Friday, when we leave for vacation.  So this week is going to be even more insane than I thought it would be the other day.
 

Please be praying for my mother-in-law, AND my wife and father-in-law.  Actually, they are the two I feel sorriest for -- they have to take care of her for a week!!

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July 14, 2004

This Week in Church History

July 12, 1739

The conversion of a young man whose short life would impact the lives of individuals all across the North American continent:

One morning while I was walking in a solitary place (as usual) and came near a thick bunch of hazels, I felt at once unusually lost and at the greatest stand and felt that all my contrivances and projections respecting my deliverance and salvation were brought to a final issue.
After spending days in anguish, thinking finally that the spirit of God had departed, finally:
By this time the sun was scarce half an hour high, as I remember, as I was walking in a dark thick grove, "unspeakable glory" seemed to open to the view and apprehension of my soul. By the glory I saw I don't mean any external brightness, for I saw no such thing, nor do I intend any imagination of a body of light or splendor somewhere away in the third heaven, or anything of that nature. But it was a new inward apprehension or view that I had of God; such as I never had before, nor anything that I had the least remembrance of it. I stood still and wondered and admired.

David Brainerd enrolled at Yale, hoping to receive his ministerial degree. He was dismissed for making an impolite remark about a teacher (which he denied, but offered appology for). In spite of this, he was comissioned a missionary to the Native Americans, and ministered among them for three years.

Upon his death in 1747 at the age of 29, his father-in-law, Jonathan Edwards, preached his funeral service, and began work on his classic biography The Life of David Brainerd.

Just when you think that God cannot use someone of a young age, you are reminded of this remarkable young man. There is a new edition of Edwards' biography of Brainerd -- I highly recommend it.

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Study of Mark: Mark 3:31-35

And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you." And he answered them, "Who are my mother and my brothers?"And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother."
(Mark 3:31-35 ESV)

I'm not going to jump into the "They were his brothers/they were his cousins" debate here -- I believe they were his brothers, and I don't think it's inconsistant to say Mary and Joseph had kids after Jesus. So there.

So Mary and Jesus' brothers (some versions also add "and sisters" to that) came looking for Him. Mary probably heard that His siblings thought He was nuts, and was going to try to prove differently. Jesus' reaction always used to bother me -- it is almost a "Who? This is my family right here, not them!" And though it might have been appropriate for His brothers, I never thought that was fair for Mary. But I don't think that was Christ's point.

He was trying to show the importance of following Him. He wanted to say that as close as people are to their own families, that is how close He is to those who believe and follow Him.

We are the family of Christ. We who follow Him are His brothers and sisters, adopted by God, and joint heirs with Christ Himself (Romans 8:15, 17, 23, among others).

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July 13, 2004

AAACCKK!!!

I forgot the Carnival!

This coming Wednesday (7-14) is the next Christian Carnival, and will be hosted at From the Anchor Hold. If you have a blog, this will be a great way to get read, and possibly pick up readers in the process or highlight your favorite post from the past week.

Since it's an hour too late to submit anything, I'll clip that part of the email. I'm having to check my email through Adelphia's Webmail, and I tend to forget to do that -- I remember better when all I have to do is click the Outlook icon on the desktop.

When I get home tomorow night, I think I'm going to download a program I found that lets you blog on your PDA, and upload the entries when you have an Internet connection. That might help me remember, especially when I'm away from home.

Also -- next week might be a little sparse, blogging-wise. Mom comes for a visit Monday and Tuesday, along with my aunt and uncle. Wednesday and Thursday I'm helping out at VBS at church, then Friday we leave for Myrtle Beach for some fun, sun, and golf! I'm going to try to at least keep up the Mark study and the TWiCH (I lOVE that acronym!), but anything else will be gravy.

Speaking of the Mark study and TWiCH, both of those will be up tomorrow evening. Promise.

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WHAT is wrong with these people??

This story via World Magazine's blog. Apparantly, a Swedish pastor is in BIG trouble, because his faith is offensive to some people. (You MAY have to scroll down a bit for the story)

This is the exact problem when government interferes with religion -- it puts people of faith in the position hof having to decide to offend their government or their God. Truely tolerant people, I've heard tell, are capable of defending their position rationally and logically. Therefore, they shouldn't need the government to come to their rescue under the pretense of an "incitement law".

The Gospel of Christ will offend those who refuse to believe it. We ARE an intolerant people -- but no more so than those who campaign against us, who think they're tolerant. (GetReligion has a great article on this topic, by the way).

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Cruisin' the Blogroll

Haven't done this in a while, so let's hop in the virtual hot rod and cruise the Blogroll for a bit...

Al Mohler has a great entry today, entitled "Is The Religious Right Really Right?" If you know anything about Dr. Mohler, you already know his answer to that question. Take a look anyway, because the article is very informative and a bit entertaining.

Over at Challies.com, Tim talks about a new Barna study involving the impact of The Passion of the Christ. Interesting findings.

I can't pick just one post from Jollyblogger, but he's been blogging about one of my favorite topics -- the interaction of Christians and society, especially with regard to government and political involvement.

Songstress7 is doing her Free Association today. I especially appreciated her link to this.

Nicene Theology is confessing his addictions. I thought about doing this, but I stopped. After all, my sister reads this blog.

I've been reading Rebecca's blog since I started reading blogs. Her post about True Evangelical Faith is outstanding.

I've got more, but I'm going to go ahead and post this. There are some massive thunderstorms coming this way, so I may not get the chance to finish. Stay tuned for part 2!

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July 11, 2004

Will There Be Hockey in October?

This won't be a theologically profound post. To be honest, I'm swamped with reading and writing right now. The sad thing is, the stuff isn't due until mid-August, but I have VBS, a visit from Mom, and a week's vacation, so I'm not going to get much done for the last couple weeks of July. I'm TRYING not to fall into my old habits and put everything off until the last possible minute, so I'm getting as much as I can done now.

And this is a VERY important sociological topic. Labor negotiations and hockey.

As far as I can understand, it all comes down to one issue. The player's association doesn't want a salary cap, and the league does. Neither side is willing to budge, so it looks like there might not be a hockey season this fall.

I love hockey. It's one of the two or three sports I follow closely -- and most of the others I gave up because of contract negotiations. NASCAR and PGA golf don't HAVE contracts to worry about; the pay is based on performance. I don't like pro basketball, and I've recently lost interest in pro football (though with the second coming of Joe Gibbs, I may have to start following the Skins again). I love watching baseball live, but on TV it's worse than watching golf.

I can watch hockey live, on TV, or on tape. Even though the two teams I am a fan of (Atlanta and Columbus) are NOT playoff contenders by the end of the season (though both looked promising this year), I still love the game. My two-year-old loves it, too -- second only to football.

I can see why a salary cap makes sense for the owners, especially in smaller markets. And I can see why the players may not want one, especially those who are the "superstars" of the game. I wish I could come up with a great solution, but I cannot. A profit-sharing plan might do it, but the larger market teams won't want that at all.

All I can do is hope that greater minds than I can come up with a solution -- because otherwise, I'll be going through withdrawl this fall.

And that won't be pretty. At all.

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July 10, 2004

Go Buy This CD

Derek Webb The House Show. I'm looking forward to getting and listening to She Must and Shall Go Free after hearing this disc. And, of course, I have to copy the lyrics to the song I just finished listening to.

I REPENT
Words and music by Derek Webb
Copyright 2004 Derek Webb Music ASCAP

I repent of my pursuit of America's dream
I repent of living like I deserve anything
My house, my fence, my kids, and my wife
In our suburb where we're safe and white
I am wrong and of these things I repent

I repent of parading my liberty
I repent of paying for what I get for free
The way I believe that I am living right
By trading sins for others that are easier to hide
I am wrong and of these things I repent

I repent judging by a law that even I can't keep
Wearin’ righteousness like a disguise to see through
The planks in my own eyes

I repent of trading truth for false unity
I repent of confusing peace and idolatry
Of caring more of what they think than what I know of what they need
And domesticating You until You look just like me
I am wrong and of these things I repent

Thanks to Jared over at Mysterium Tremendum for the lyrics. Read his review, and one from Tim Challies. It's Tim's fault I bought the thing, but I got it on sale.

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