Sunday, November 30, 2014

Service and Administration

Yours truly engages in administrating — not.
Thank heaven we work for someone smarter than we are.

If I wanted to cite a cautionary tale in that regard, I’d look no further than the corporation that employs me (which will remain nameless, since I am grateful for a weekly paycheque). For the last decade or so — not trying to be unkind, but merely truthful — the company has been afflicted with near-systemic administrative incompetence. Even a worker bee can see that dwindling market share, increasing debt load, layoffs by the thousands and an inability to attract investors are not positive indicators.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Co-opting Christ

Or is it “The Democratic Party is my god”?
They’re lining up to make use of the Lord Jesus Christ, it appears.

Carey Lodge at Christian Today writes about how both ends of the UK political spectrum seem determined to make the eternal God the poster boy for their social agendas.

As a Christian, if there’s anything more off-putting than the sort of cynicism that makes merchandise of or leverages political advantage from the Saviour, I’m having trouble thinking of it right now.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Too Hot to Handle: The Gospel Meeting

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Real Evidence

What tipped the scales for you?
I’m going to single out the New Testament for a moment, not to minimize the importance of the first 39 books of the Bible, but because without its reframing and illumination of the Old Testament we could not explicitly know salvation in Christ: we could only hope and anticipate him. We could have Judaism but not Christianity, law but not grace, shadow but not substance.

Though we can find frequent glimpses of the character and work of God in its pages, of course, we could never possess the certainty and clarity that those who meditate on the final few books of holy writ enjoy today.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bible Study 12 – Context [Part 6]

Another instalment in an ongoing series about studying the Bible using methods deduced from the Bible itself. The series introduction can be found here.

The second Bible study tool we are discussing is context. For justification, see the first post on this subject.

Immediate Context and Meaning

Sometimes it is only through careful attention to immediate context that meaning becomes clear. As mentioned previously, word study and comparison do not always successfully clarify the author’s intent, especially when a word that is significant in illuminating the passage you are trying to understand occurs only once in scripture, leaving you with no inspired point of reference.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What’s Behind Faith?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Inbox: This Makes A Good Point

Passed on to me today by a friend:


The bit that is often forgotten: “... first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye”.

That’s miles from our society’s passive, boundless, mindless tolerance of anything and everything.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

That Sinking Feeling

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

How Will My Life Be Better?

From the Bible Gateway Facebook page:
“It is fair to ask the question: ‘How will my life be better if I understand the Bible better?’ ” 
Bible Gateway is a huge website with a lot of followers, so there are too many good answers to this question to read them all.

Mine is this.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Too Hot to Handle: Unsanctioned “Churches”

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Spiritual Economics

Economics is not science, but its study is most useful when it accurately maps observable human tendencies. At its core, economics is guesswork about what people tend to do in any given set of circumstances. Naturally it assumes rationality on the part of those it analyzes; a common sense that can be documented, predicted and acted upon to the benefit of the observer.

The Lord and the apostles frequently appeal to experience, observation, rationality and common sense to encourage sound judgment in the spiritual realm. Some familiar examples: “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times”, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you?” or even “... the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light”. Each appeals to things that should be obvious to all to encourage proper thinking and conduct in the believer.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Why Do Christians Disagree?

Religious skeptics, along with many sincere believers young and old, find the lack of agreement among Christians to be a most perplexing and off-putting fact.

Denominationalism is only one manifestation of its reality. Within virtually all denominations we can find numerous ‘minor’ convictions still considered significant enough by their proponents to justify breaches of fellowship with those who hold different views, amicably or otherwise.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Laughter of Jackals

A more current version of this post is available here.

Monday, November 17, 2014

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The “No Harm” Argument (a.k.a. the Do-It-Yourself Millstone)

Care to try on one of these?
How on earth did I get started on this subject?

Trying to deal with arguments for the acceptance of Christian same-sex relationships — and let’s be realistic: everyone I’ve read on the subject actively promotes full LGBT “equality” in the church, not merely the homosexualist agenda — is like trying to grasp a handful of jello. The proffered reasons for acceptance constantly change shape and direction. One could be forgiven for speculating that many such positions are actually Trojan horses: they present as reasonable concessions that mask the true intentions (and possibly even the true identities) of those who advance them.

Such tactics are typical of social progressives but one might hope (perhaps foolishly) to find professing Christians agreeable to recognizing a set of common principles to be employed in debate, if not always completely transparent about the goals they have in mind for church “reform”.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014

Too Hot to Handle: IndoctriNation — The Christian and Education [Part 1]

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.
“88% of Christian children deny their faith by graduation day.”
That’s one of the sensational claims made in IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America, a three year-old movie about the evils of the public school system that, I must admit, I have not seen in its entirety. This trailer was used to promote it:



Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Coin That Always Comes Up Tails

Vox Day contemplates the British parliamentary vote to abandon 900 years of legal sovereignty, and why it is that culture wars are rarely won or lost in the span of a single human lifetime:
“Some think that these extended timescales prove that there is no conspiracy and ‘progress’ is a mere accident of history because no human lifespan is long enough to encompass the strategy or the consequences. The logic is correct, but then, logic also suggests an alternative, which is that there is something, or someone, that exists on a larger timescale and is capable of guiding events of these temporal proportions.

So, the question comes down to this: given what we can observe with the limited means at our disposal, which do you find more unlikely? A coin almost always flipping tails at random or some sort of unknown, long-lived being imposing its will on the coin toss?”

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Should Christians Observe the Sabbath?

An electrical shabbat lamp. Should
every Christian have one of these?
From time to time this question still comes up among believers, particularly converted Jews or those accustomed to highly liturgical traditions.

Lauren F. Winner, for example, advocates a modified Sabbath observation for believers, despite evidently having read what the apostle Paul has to say about it.

Today’s post provides a useful counterbalance to that sort of thinking. RJA considers two significant aspects of Sabbath observance: its Biblical origins, and the question of whether or not the Sabbath should be observed by Christians today — Tom

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Incoherence of the Left

I’ve seen this one coming for a while, though I’m far from the only observer of modern society to note the inevitability of internecine strife within progressivism.

The social liberal is, after all, a profoundly incoherent creature in hot denial of the reality that any genuine claim to the benefits he or she seeks to extract from society can exist only on the basis of Judeo-Christian principles he or she despises.

That is to say, when you reject the existence of a creator and therefore the value of individual men and women to him, you lose your rational basis for the ever-increasing list of “rights” to which members of oppressed or marginalized groups claim to be entitled.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Why Are We So Unsatisfied?

A more current version of this post is available here.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

An Object Lesson Rejected: The Feast of Tabernacles

Illustration from Bible Pictures and
What They Teach Us
, Charles Foster, 1897
The Jewish historian Josephus referred to Tabernacles, or Sukkot, as “[a] feast very much observed among us”. From the time it was first instituted at Mount Sinai, this feast has held a unique place among the festivals of Israel. The details of its observance were given by God, its future significance was expounded by the prophets, and its spiritual substance was exemplified by Jesus during his brief life on earth.

Let’s consider the origins of the Feast of Tabernacles, its role in prophecy and finally its use by Christ as an object lesson to reveal to a darkened and spiritually thirsty nation the truth about himself.

Origins of the Feast

The Feast of Tabernacles was instituted by divine command, one of three major feasts in Israel’s annual cycle which required that every male in the nation appear before the Lord in Jerusalem. The last feast in the yearly series, it was held for seven days in the seventh month, from Tishri 15 to 21. This placed Sukkot in the pleasant weather of early autumn, after the completion of the harvest. Beginning with a day of rest, it was concluded by an eighth day, also a day of rest, featuring a closing assembly accompanied by the relevant sacrifices.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

The Price of Admission

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Too Hot to Handle: The Greatest Threat to Christianity

The most current version of this post is available here.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Judgment and Discernment

“This is a Christian country. I go to a Christian church. I believe in God and the Bible, so what right have you to judge me and tell me I’m not a Christian?” 
A question like this must be handled with care. It is certainly possible to conclude from a person’s life and actions that they are not living in a Christlike way; it may be discerned and pointed out that their beliefs about salvation and the Christian life are not in harmony with what the Bible teaches. But ultimately the question of whether a person is a ‘real’ Christian or not can be answered only by God, or in the case of a genuine child of God, by the individual believer.

Those who lack saving faith may not even be fully aware of it themselves.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Inbox: Sucking the Life Out of “Vampire Churches”

A more current version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Promiscuous Freedom and Enslavement

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Justin Trudeau, Judgment and the Angels

Waitasec ... who will judge whom?
Justin Trudeau wants to be prime minister of Canada.

This is not news. But campaigning for the highest office in the land tends to bring greater scrutiny than teaching high school; the occasional naysayer or critic comes with the territory.

No surprise then that the office of the Public Safety Minister said Trudeau showed an “appalling lack of judgment” for visiting a Montreal mosque in September. It turns out their imam teaches that stoning women and cutting the hands off thieves is necessary for a “healthy, pure and balanced society”. The minister is concerned that Trudeau’s visit lends legitimacy to the imam’s comments. 

So okay, maybe one little lapse in judgment. Nothing to make a big deal of, right?

Monday, November 03, 2014

Houston Redux

A quick follow up to my post from a couple of weeks ago on Houston Mayor Annise Parker and the subpoenas served by the City of Houston on five area pastors. While it might be a little premature (and a little overdramatic) to use the headline “Fight For Faith”, Fox News reported that the subpoenas, previously redrafted, have now been withdrawn entirely.


With his usual subtlety, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee had a few words to say on the subject of the issuance of the initial subpoenas:
“They shouldn’t expect the taxpayers to fund their hate-filled, Gestapo-like actions to openly attempt to shut down the free exercise of religion and their attempt to establish a religion of godless secularism.”

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Faith of the Calvinists

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Inbox: The Sin of Sodom

In response to Thursday’s post on homosexuality, a reader writes:

Q: “Was [Matthew] Vines referring to Ezek. 16:49 which lists Sodom’s sin as being made up of a combination of pride, gluttony, indifference and unwillingness to share one’s bread (inhospitable?) but notably, no mention of aberrant sexual conduct? How would you answer?”

A: Well, let’s look at what Ezekiel says, for starters:
“Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.”