August 14, 2004

The Carnival is Coming!!!

Wow, looking at the headlines here, I've got three Carnival-related headlines almost back to back to back. THAT won't look good on the headlines graphic I got from Feedburner! Have to do something about that.

ANYWAY: The Christian Carnival is going to be held at Parableman on Wednesday of this week. It HAS to be from the past week, and it HAS to be Christian-themed, and you HAVE to send the following information:

Blog name
Blog URL
post name
post URL
trackback URL for your post if you would like a track
backbrief description of post

Send your submission to and make sure your subject makes it clear that this is for the Christian Carnival, or it will be deleted as junk mail.

I didn't notice a deadline, but to be safe I'd get it there Tuesday evening, Eastern time. Everyone should do it, because it's a great way to get the word out about your blog. Now I have to head off and try to come up with something good to post.

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August 12, 2004

Religion and Ethics Survey

Back in April, PBS did this survey, and I missed it somehow. I dumped it onto the hard drive and promptly forgot about it, or my desire to study it and comment.

So this weekend, while I'm on the road, I'm going to take a look at it. I'm planning on commenting Tuesday or Wednesday.

So why am I telling you this? Good question. I missed the boat in April, so I'm figuring that someone else has blogged about this survey. If anyone knows of a blog source I can refer to, let me know in the comments. I'm also letting you know so you can take a look at the conclusions that PBS came to. You'll be surprised to learn that evangelicals don't all go to mega-churches, don't consider Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson to be their leaders, and that white evangelicals often differn in their responses from evangelicals of other ethnic backgrounds. Ok, so maybe you won't be surprised by that -- I sure wasn't. From reading the article, it seems that PBS was a bit surprised by all that. Maybe they should have been paying attention to us all these years, rather than looking down their noses at those quaint little peope who actually believe all that God stuff.

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Southern This Fall

I've confirmed my schedule for the fall -- my first full semester at Southern. I'm taking Biblical Hermeneutics with Dr. William Cook, Intro to Christian Philosophy with Dr. Ronald Nash, and Systematic Theology I with Dr. Al Mohler.

Systematic only meets on Fridays, and it's my only class on Friday. The other two meet Tuesday through Thursday. I'm out by noon on Friday, and 1:30 the other days, so my bloging schedule is going to depend on my work schedule.

If you can't tell, I'm excited to be going back to school. I'm really looking forward to studying under some of the people who are shaping evangelical Baptist theology. It's going to be a big change from me teaching a class full of teenagers, to me learning in a class, but I'm ready for it.

We're heading for Louisville on Friday, so I can arrange for housing and work. Saturday I take my placement test for Church History, and Tuesday I may take the test for New Testament. Tuesday is orientation, and classes start Wednesday. Needless to say, blogging may be a little light this weekend, but I'll try to have at least one thing up each day.

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August 11, 2004

The Christian Carnival is Up!

Head over to Beyond the Rim and check out the 30th installment of the Christian Carnival. There are a lot of great entries there. My favorites:

  • Reformation, the entry from Minas Tirith. Reminds me that God uses imperfect people to do incredible things.
  • Brandon at Siris has a great article on the Trinity that should provoke some thought.

I think these two are my favorites out of the folks who aren't on my blogroll. Of course, Donald, Matt, Rebecca, Hal, and Jeremy have their usual excellent articles over there, but you should have read those already. You DO check out the blogroll here, don't you? ;-)

And, of course, I have something there, too. My TWiCH about the French Revolution is there. But I KNOW you've read that one already.

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Study of Mark: Mark 4:21-34

And he said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand?For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light.If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."And he said to them, "Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground.He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."And he said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth,yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.
(Mark 4:21-34 ESV)

We're continuing with Christ teaching his disciples through parables.

The first is that of a lamp, or candlestick. If you want to illuminate a room, do you hide it, or place it on a stand? Obviously, you place it on a stand. Christ's teachings to the disciples, though, were often under a basket -- he taught them secretly about many things. His point to this particular parable, I think, is that His mission was to 1. give Himself a sacrifice for us all, but 2. to train his disciples to spread the Good News of His kingdom. His teachings weren't for everyone -- that's why he taught so often in parables. His mission could only be understood in the context of Calvary -- before that time, people wouldn't be able to understand what He was doing.

The second teaching really is not a parable -- in fact, it's an explanation to the parable of the talents. When God gives us much, He expects much from us. Christ is preparing the disciples for their roles in spreading the Gospel to the world. They have been given much -- more than any other men in the world, for who can say that they learned at the feet of Jesus? Much will be required -- their very lives, ultimately.

Christ then makes another allusion to planting and harvesting, but to make a different point. We sow the seed of the Gospel. After we sow, we see results. We don't know why people are responding the way they are, and we don't know why other people aren't responding. it isn't for us to know. We accept that God is sovereign, and that His plan is in place. We rejoice that we have a harvest, not that we didn't get as many plants as we thought we would.

We then see the kingdom of God compared to a mustard seed. WHen planted, it seems small and insignificant -- much like our efforts in sharing the Gospel. But when the plant matures, it can grow into a huge tree. We never know who we have influenced by our faithful proclaiming of the Gospel. We cannot stop doing it simply because we see no big results right away. We may never know what lives we have touched, so we must continue to be faithful in our work, trusting that God will grant the increase.

Parables are tough to study, because of the simple fact that they are not always clear in what they are saying. Hopefully, I have been able to faithfully explain some of these parables of Christ. I look forward to hearing from others, who have their own ideas.

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August 10, 2004

Christian Carnival

I almost forgot, and the deadline is looming. My post is going in as soon as I submit this posting.

This week's Carnival is at Beyond the Rim... So, be thinking about submitting an article or getting your blogger friends to submit an article. Email your entry to beyondtherim at and include the words Christian Carnival in the Subject line. It helps my SPAM filter and my message sorter.

Please also send:
The name of your blog:
The URL of your blog:
The name of your nominated blog post:
The URL of your nominated blog post:
A brief description of the nominated blog post:

I also want to suggest that you use the ability of your mail client to request a read receipt. That way you will be sure I got the submission. For all those not requesting a read receipt, I will be emailing a confirmation of receipt. If you don't get a confirmation, either through a read receipt or confirmation reply, I didn't get your submission. It may have been eaten by the random bit bucket.

Submission deadline is Tuesday at 12 midnight EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) or there abouts.

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Beating a (Slightly) Dead Horse

I wish I had read this before the whole BWA/SBC debate. I'd have certainly included it in my comments on the whole controversy.

For Christians to be linked in association with ministers who do not preach the Gospel of Christ is to incurr moral guilt.
A[n Alliance] which can continue irrespective of whether its member churches belong to a common faith is not fulfilling any scriptural function.
The preservation of a denominational association when it is powerless to discipline heretics cannot be justified on the grounds of 'preservation of Christian Unity'.
It is error which breaks the unity of churches, and to remain in a denominational alignment which condones error is to support schism.
That's a quote from 1888, by C. H. Spurgeon, after he left the Baptist Union over the increasing influence of liberal theology. Something for us all to think about.

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Back at Last!

I was afraid that after I complained at Adeplhia (in rather vehement terms and tones, I might add), that we'd be put at the bottom of the list. Nope. The high-speed is back, and I can blog again.

I owe everyone a Mark study entry, which I will do today. I've got a couple other things I want to talk about, but I may save them so I have something to say later in the week.

Friday we head to Louisville. I have some tests I'm taking, to try and get out of some of the Introduction To .... classes, so I can take some that I'm really interested in. Tuesday is Orientation for new students, and Wednesday starts classes. I'm praying that finding housing and a job will go smoothly -- I can't imagine that the job will be that tough, with the retail experience I have. And I'm 80% sure of where I'm going to live.

It's funny -- four years ago, when I resigned from Lowes, I swore I'd never work retail again. Since I started teaching three years ago, I've gotten quite used to having all summer, all major holidays, and even snow days, off. But now, I'm thankful that I've got the experience in retail, because it's going to help me get through school.

I've got some work to do -- I have some writing to finish up for my Baptist History class, and it's due to the GA by Sunday. I'll post more later on.

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August 05, 2004

This Week in Church History

August 4, 1792.

A liberal's dream came true in France on this day. The ruling body that had taken over France in the wake of the Revolution declared all churches closed. Many were used as prisons. Some were used for more ... inappropriate uses.

The French revolution was, from it's inception, anti-Christian and anti-Church -- but especially the latter. The Church in France at the time had become corrupt, with bishops ruthlessly persecuting Hugenots and other non-conformists. Most of the bishops were from the upper class of society, and abuses of their power abounded. They were very good at illustrating the wrath of God, but His grace and love were absent.

So the philosophers embraced Deism, with it's absent clockmaker God, or outright agnosticism and atheism. Rationalism and Deism became the state religions, and an oath of loyalty was soon required. Anyone who refused to swear loyalty to the new secular government was exiled from France. Churches were destroyed, priests were harrassed, and Christians were ridiculed and openly persecuted.

This is NOT a pretty day in church history. This isn't a day to remember with pride. It is a day that the failings of a church that had gotten proud of itself, that had decided that the people were beneath it, came back to haunt it.

There is an attitude about the church today that is similar to that of the French philosophes. I wrote about Mr. Kristoff and his plea that Christianity become more tolerant and inclusive, and let go of the exclusivity of the gospel. I've talked about that subject before, a long time ago when this blog was new. People want to neuter religion, and to make it harmless.

We aren't without blame. Every day, you can read about Christians who haven't been living up to expectations. Christians who are not showing the love of Christ. we fail -- we're human, after all. But we like to cover things up. We need to admit to the world that we are far from perfect, but that in spite of our failings God wants to have a relationship with us. We have been forgiven, and they can be too.

We need to learn from the example of France. Take a look there now. It is one of the biggest mission fields in the world -- and one of the hardest to work in, from what I've heard. Christians need to stop giving people a reason to ignore us, and start giving them a reason to listen to us -- Jesus Christ, proclaimed unashamedly.

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August 04, 2004

The Carnival is Up ...

... and I'm not in it. And I had a perfect post to send, too. Now I have to come up with something better.

Anyway, head on over to Digitus, Finger, and Co. and read some of the outstanding posts that were submitted this week.

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August 03, 2004


"The caution flag is out. He's talking about racing again."

Jimmy Johnson, my favorite driver, got a $10,000 fine over the weekend for blocking the label of a Powerade bottle. Powerade is a Coke product, for those who don't know. Jimmy is sponsered by Pepsi.

Now, I'm sure that Jimmy will be taken care of by the Pepsi folks, but I think that expecting a driver to ignore the sponsor who is paying a TON of money to back his car is kinda much for the folks at NASCAR.

It makes it even worse that the guy who made the rule necessary, Tony Stewart, never got fined for knocking a competitor's product off his car at the end of a race.

Of course, I've never liked Tony anyway. I worked for Lowes for almost eight years, four in management. I remember when Lowes started backing a car in NASCAR, and the people at Home Depot mocking us. A few years later, when they saw the loyalty that NASCAR fans have to sponsors, they went and got themselves a car.

I'm not a Depot fan, though I have shopped there before (and may end up working at one this fall ...). I got too caught up in the "Battle for Atlanta" when Lowes went into Depot's back yard with a bunch of huge new stores and cut into their market share in a BIG way (I helped open four of those stores). So I guess whoever drove #20 wouldn't be my favorite driver. But Tony Stewart rubs me the wrong way (like he does a lot of people on Sundays on the track). And seeing Jimmy get nailed for something Tony never got in trouble for bugs me.

ANYWAY -- tomorrow some interesting content -- maybe my high-speed access will return. Or maybe I can rant some more about Adelphia's customer "service".

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What a vacation ....

I'm finally home. Actually, I got home last night, but was too tired to blog.

I should have been home Monday morning. Halfway to Charlotte on Saturday, the transmission in my in-laws' van gave up the ghost. Sat by the side of the road with my father-in-law for two hours waiting for a tow, then spent another two hours taking back roads from Florence, SC to Charlotte. Had to stay until Monday morning because nobody was open to take care of a sick van. Sigh.

At least the beach was fun. I'm not much of a beach person, but I helped my daughter build her first sand castle ever, so it was fun. Played some VERY mediocre golf. Got a small sunburn. Ate too much. The usual vacation thing. Read the newest Jasper Fforde book, Well of Lost Plots. Highly recommend this series to people who enjoy British humor (especially Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently series). When I get my high-speed back, I'll put some links up on my library page.

Speaking of which ... Got home and realized we forgot to pay the cable bill before we left. No cable TV, no Internet -- except for the PeoplePC dialup I've been using from the beach. I paid Adelphia today at noon, but they say I won't get anyone out here to reconnect me until NEXT Tuesday. I'm looking into Direct TV, so my email address may change.

Amid THAT drama, I realized I forgot about the Carnival this week. I haven't checked my blogroll OR my email since I got home, so I don't even know where it is this week. More on that tomorrow, I hope.

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August 02, 2004

No real surprise here ...

HASH(0x8a8fb8<img src= " />

You speak eloquently and have seemingly read every
book ever published. You are a fountain of
endless (sometimes useless) knowledge, and
never fail to impress at a party.What people love: You can answer almost any
question people ask, and have thus been
nicknamed Jeeves.What people hate: You constantly correct their
grammar and insult their paperbacks.

What Kind of Elitist Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

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August 01, 2004

Kerry's Sleeveless Faith

And let me say it plainly: in that cause, and in this campaign, we welcome people of faith. America is not us and them. I think of what Ron Reagan said of his father a few weeks ago, and I want to say this to you tonight: I don't wear my own faith on my sleeve. But faith has given me values and hope to live by, from Vietnam to this day, from Sunday to Sunday. I don't want to claim that God is on our side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God's side. And whatever our faith, one belief should bind us all: The measure of our character is our willingness to give of ourselves for others and for our country.

I knew that Ron Reagan's words would come back to us. I didn't think that John Kerry would quote him in his acceptance speach.

I was personally a bit irritated at Ron Reagan for his obvious politicizing of his father's funeral. But it was his dime, he could do what he wanted -- even though I wonder what his dad would have said. I know that Democrats all over the nation stood and cheered what Ron said -- even those who were secretly pleased that his father was gone.

Kerry's faith card will appeal to the folks who would have voted for him anyway. People who think that religion is for Sundays, but that it has no place in public life. Kerry's faith has given him values to live by, but not to influence society with. He has hope, but not hope to share with anyone. He's said before that he personally opposes abortion, but won't follow his personal values when elected. He has a personal Jesus, but not a very practical one -- or a public one.

This is what people mean when they talk about wearing religion on one's sleeves. They want faith to stay put, and not influence society. That may work with some faiths -- Buddhism, for example, or some forms of Judaeism. Christianity is an evangelical faith -- evangelical in the braodest sense of the word. It is meant to be spread, by preaching and teaching, converting and baptizing. That is what Christ's final command to us was all about -- Go, preach, teach, and baptize. In Acts, we read His words: "You shall be witnesses ...". We will be witnesses of Him, either by our actions or by our inactions. Wearing your faith on your sleeve means that you will be a witness by your actions -- by your words, your deeds, your faith in action on a daily basis. Andrew Fuller understood this over 200 years ago. John Kerry hasn't figured it out yet.

Your faith may be sleeveless, Mr. Kerry. True faith, the faith that the martyrs died for, the faith that built the Church, the faith that Christ expects from His followers, has sleeves.

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