Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Genesis Rocks

I just had to post the link below to this little clip of Genesis performing "Los Endos" at the VH1 Rock Honors show last week. They're going on tour here in the U.S. this fall and I hope to catch one of the Chicago shows. They were a little out of place at the VH1 event in my view. I mean come on..Genesis sharing a stage with ZZ Top and Ozzy????

Anyway, it's cool to see the guys from Surrey back on stage again. Truly my favorite secular band. Their musicianship is always top notch. Besides, you gotta love Mike Rutherford's new doubleneck!

One'll have to grin and bear the "Crest Whitestrips" ad the site plays. Part of the price for seeing the video clip, I guess. The Genesis button is on the lower right of the screen.

Genesis at VH1 Rock Honors
Creation Kerfuffle

While I have seen the new Creationism Museum referenced in the news this week, a post this morning by my friend Cindy Swanson (a link to her blog, Notes in the Key of Life, is to the right of this page in my links section) reminded me to comment briefly on the growing flap.

Certain evolutionists are picketing the new museum - some of them quite obnoxiously. I find this amusing. Not content with mounting an Inquisition-like campaign to drive the idea of creationism out of schools, they are now trying to hurt a PRIVATE museum/exhibit, not on school grounds or university campuses. I don't think that point can be stressed enough. The rabid wing of atheism has been saying for eons to take all thought of God, creation etc. out of public schools. "They have no quarrel with religious ideas, churches, schools etc. not funded with public money." They could care less what religious individuals do on their own dime and in their own circles. Really? Then why all the uproar over a museum? Whatever happened to freedom of thought, academic freedom, not to mention freedom of religion? This museum is not a public school or university. It's private. People are free to go and come as they please. No matter, say the radical antis. They're still mad. Their language reveals the venom they carry within. What are they afraid of, pray tell? If they don't believe in creation and say it's unscientific, they're free to do that. Why are they so threatened by something in which they claim not to believe?

Me thinks they protest a bit too much!

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Brief Memorial Day Note

This morning, amid all the parades, prayer services and news media interviews, I had an unbidden thought come to mind. It happened while watching Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace being interviewed on Fox and Friends.

The general was talking about all those who have died in America's wars, "fighting for our freedom." As most people know who frequent The Seventh Sola, or who know me more personally in my other media involvement, I am hardly what you could call an anti-war activist. There are occasions where I think the use of military power is entirely appropriate, and responding to 9-11 was one of them. I also think that the Iraq War was just, given what Saddam Hussein had done to his people in addition to his repeatedly being in violation of the cease fire agreement he signed with us after the first Gulf War. Perhaps the reasons given for beginning the second conflict are arguable, but that's beside the point. Our men who have fallen have fallen honorably, and deserve our thanks as their families deserve our prayers.

Anyway, back to the general's remark. If our soldiers are indeed fighting and dying for our freedom, isn't it appropriate to hope that the American people will actually retain the freedom for which these men and women are dying?

Year by year, the legislative, executive and judicial branches of this country whittle away at our rights and freedoms more and more. From the right to keep and bear arms, to freedom of worship, speech, property rights, etc., the chipping away process goes on steadily and almost imperceptibly. By and large, the American people are oblivious to it. We don't want to be bothered in our comfortable little lifestyles. Bread and circuses. (Look that up if you don't know the allusion)

Freedom is hard won, but lost very easily. I think we all would do well to remember that this Memorial Day


Today, Venezuelans are out in the street mourning their "loss of democracy" after nascent dictator Hugo Chavez shut down the last independent television station. Now they finally get it. Chavez has plainly stated his intentions just as Hitler did in "Mein Kampf." And Chavez is carrying them out. Soon, Venezuela will be another Cuba. I would suggest that our Venezuelan friends take a page from the American playbook in 1776. They won't get their freedom back by waving signs.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Why "Baptismal Regeneration" Is So Serious an Error

I hadn't intended on posting about this again so soon after my earlier comments on this issue, but I really feel the need to stress this again based on some painful conversations I have been forced to have with loved ones. First, I want to look at the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatian church . . .

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed (Galatians 1:8-9).

This passage is striking in that Paul finds it necessary to repeat his warning twice in consecutive sentences. The entire book of Galatians, by the way, deals with the subject of works salvation, or the heretical idea that you can be made righteous before God through human works - in this case by following the Law of Moses. Although adherence to the Mosaic Law is the immediate issue, the principle applies to ANY notion that a human work will regenerate you and make you righteous before God. Next, let's look at another warning from Paul in his letter to the Romans - the constitution of the Christian faith . . .

But if it (salvation) is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace (Romans 11:6).

First Corinthians 15 is the only place in the entire New Testament where the Gospel is defined. There is no mention of baptism in that passage. In Acts, the family of Cornelius was regenerated by the Holy Spirit when they believed, and BEFORE they were baptized. The Holy Spirit does not fill or indwell unregenerate people.

I want to turn back to Galatians for a moment. In chapter 5, Paul tells the would-be Judaizers that if they "receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you." Paul also stresses that Abraham was considered justified before God BEFORE he was circumcised. Circumcision is a parallel to baptism and the same principle applies. Both are outward signs of testimony to an inward faith.

Any time we seek to put a human work - even works commanded by Christ - as conditions for salvation and justification before God, we nullify the Gospel. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone. Works, including baptism, are the result of our salvation, not the cause of it. If you believe you are saved by baptism or any other "work of righteousness," you are on your way to Hell. God will not recognize anything but the shed blood of Christ, received by faith which He also grants as a sovereign gift. God does it all. He alone gets the glory and the credit.

One final word, although I've said this before too. Churches and individual Christians do indeed fall short when it comes to baptism. For many, it seems this is one command of Christ for which obedience is optional. It is not optional. I have known of people who have been believers for decades and have never followed the Lord in baptism. This is sin, and if you willingly disobey the Lord in a continuous fashion, you had best question whether you are born again or not. If we love Him, we keep His commandments. Obedience is evidence that we have indeed been saved. Disobedience to Christ's command to be baptized helps give the baptismal regeneration heresy fuel. If you haven't been baptized, do it, and do it now.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

When Things Get Out Of Hand . . .

When my day gets frustrating, I do two things. First, I pray...and that always helps. Then, I look at the following photo, which I keep in my desk drawer. Click on this link:

Film Images

Suddenly, things don't seem quite so bad, do they?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Kudos to Virginia!

I seldom do two posts in one day, but this is worth it.

It appears New York mayor Michael Bloomberg (a RINO if there ever was one) has been sending private investigators into gun stores IN OTHER STATES to supposedly "investigate" them for selling firearms to people who legally can't have one. Hizzoner, a notorious anti-gun rights fanatic, then files a lawsuit against said gun store for their alleged wrongdoing. Most gun stores don't have the billions of Bloomberg, so this is potentially ruining for many.

But Bloomberg overstepped one too many times. He chose to pick on a Virginia gun store whose owner meticulously follows the law. The gun shop owner will show in court that the very form required when buying a gun makes it clear that guns purchased are not to be transferred to ineligible buyers. If someone does that, then they are knowingly violating the law. Virginia lawmakers were so incensed by this that they passed a new law of their own. The state attorney general forthwith wrote a letter to New York's nosy burgomeister with a stern warning. If Bloomberg or anyone else sends someone into the state to pull a stunt like that again, it will be prosecuted as a felony. Good on you, Virginia! It's that type of very action that will be necessary to slap people like Michael Bloomberg, Senator Charles Schumer etc. down.

BTW, Bloomberg supposedly wants to buy his way into the Oval Office via a third party or independent candidacy. While Bloomberg might genuinely have presidential ambitions, I think he will be more of a Ross Perot type spoiler. He's a former Democrat that still has Democratic philosophical leanings despite his "R" behind the name. He'll help throw the next election to Hillary if he gets in the race. People ought to watch this fellow with eyes wide open.
The McCain Crackup

Thus far I have refrained from commenting much on the Republican presidential sweepstakes except to say that I don't care for for the so-called top tier candidates running. It seems the party establishment is bound and determined to give us anything but a solid conservative.

I have long been concerned about a John McCain candidacy, despite his overall pro-life voting record. He is too quick to compromise with the left on too many things, including illegal immigration. I don't trust him on the Second Amendment (gun rights), and he has generally treated Christian conservatives with arms-length contempt. To his credit, he has stood firmly on the war, however there is more to being a good president than just being a hawk on defense.

I have great concerns about whether McCain has the temperament to be president. Screaming four-letter words at Senator John Cornyn (including the "F-Word") didn't help his standing with me one bit. This wasn't a one-time occurrence either. McCain's explosive temper is legendary. In a job where cooler heads need to prevail, I don't want someone with such white-knuckled rage to be in the Oval Office. Bill Clinton was also noted for his so-called "purple rages," generally unleashed when he didn't get his way about something. One of his staffers should have given it right back to him, but people seem to be willing to put up with a lot to work in or near the Oval Office.

I'm glad I'm not in Washington. The temptation to swing a chair at someone would be great, but then again, I am not John McCain. I could probably control myself.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

What a Hoot!

So, Jimmy Carter has a hissy fit overseas and calls President Bush the worst ever. Why should anyone even dignify such idiocy? But you wait and see. The media will treat Carter the Peanut Farmer with papal deference. No matter that his administration was a total disaster, and Carter was perhaps the most inept president in American history. I would love the opportunity to tell Carter to his face what I think of his behavior, but he probably wouldn't get it.

Maybe that's why he makes these remarks overseas. He knows he'd get the hide verbally beaten out of him otherwise. Jimmy Carter is beyond contempt, and so are the media outlets that let him get by with these shenanigans unchallenged.

Here's probably what makes me the maddest about him. Carter is more of the "global citizen" ilk, and could care less if opening his huge yap hurts his own country. Historically, political differences ended at the water's edge, especially in a time of war. Carter could care less. He's more interested in having the United Nations genuflect in his direction than he is defending his country. I think Carter should give long and hard thought about why he is so eager to cast dispersions on his own country before our enemies. It makes me fearful that the man probably has some national security clearance left. I don't trust him. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg went to the electric chair for treason and espionage. If Carter's sense of "moral outrage" ever led him to similar actions, he'd probably get away with it given the weakness of our politicians these days.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Joke of Immigration Reform

While the pictured bridge isn't the Rio Grande, it's symbolic in my mind of the whole immigration contretemps as the news today is rife with the so-called "compromise" immigration reform bill. I won't wax eloquent as tempted, but I will say this. This new bill is a joke. No matter how much they try to Orwell-speak it otherwise, it is amnesty and cosmetic, feel-good window dressing. As long as there are 12 million illegals here and the border remains open, there is no solution to the problem. No one is going to pay $5,000 in fines. No one is going to agree to come here and leave their families behind. Above all, this leaves the 12 million people here, in essence rewarding them for lawbreaking. Instead, they ought to deport every one of them they can find and seal the border. They should put employers who hire illegals in jail. THEN we'll talk about ways to improve legal immigration which will be beneficial to both American business and individuals who want to come here to have a better life. Sounds draconian to liberal ears, but I can't think of any other nation on earth that would tolerate this kind of unrestricted influx that puts such a drain on our already overwhelmed social services. The famed poem cited by the personification of the Statue of Liberty had legal immigrants in view, not the out-of-control mess it is now.

Americans need a huge attitude adjustment on this..from the American businesses who profit from Americans with fat derrieres who turn their noses up at doing jobs only illegals liberal churches who twist Scripture to excuse lawbreaking because it goes hand in hand with their unbiblical liberation politicians who cynically see illegal immigration as a way to get votes . . . you name it. Everyone has a finger in this stinking pie. The last amnesty measure in the 1980s only encouraged more illegal immigration. This will open the floodgates even more. And who knows. One of those immigrants just might be the next Osama bin Ladin.

And while I'm at it, let's talk a bit about those jobs that Americans supposedly don't want to do. Here's a bit of reality. If we don't want to do the jobs, then maybe we don't need the products those jobs produce that badly. It seems some have the idea you should come out of high school and land a $100,000 per year job. I flipped burgers for a while after high school. Other kids with whom I went to school de-tasseled corn. Hot, sweaty work, but good for you. What's changed?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Another Howler From "Bishop" Schori

In this week's issue of World Magazine, there is a little snippet on "The Buzz" page about Katherine Jefferts-Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. The good lady is miffed at Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola's desire to install Martyn Minns as head of a new denomination for conservative (read that "Bible-believing") Episcopalians. Ms. Schori, if you recall, supported the consecration (if I can use that word) of homosexual bishop Eugene Robinson, which in turn led to a number of conservative Episcopalian parishes withdrawing from his (and Ms. Schori's) authority. Said the good lady cleric, "Such action would violate the ancient customs of the church."

Excuse me? Since when does walking away from apostasy violate the "ancient customs of the church?" I hate to disabuse Kathy of her liberal notions of the faith, but the Bible (remember, the Book that is supposed to be our sole rule of faith and practice?) actually encourages faithful believers to separate themselves from so-called "brothers" (sisters too) who do not live according to the Word of God. The last time I checked, homosexuality was still an abomination in the sight of God.

If Ms. Schori and her ilk want to stem the bleeding from the Episcopalian church, I suggest they repent of their apostasy and heresy, and restore the Episcopal Church to a biblical footing. Ms. Schori's resignation from the pastorate would be a good first step.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Revised Post Mortem on Vacation

Boy, after reading my earlier post on this subject, I really vented my spleen so thought it best to delete it. Oh, nothing nasty or profane of course, but I really came across as crabby. Solameanie crabby? Perish the thought. So, I'll revise my earlier post to say this..much more briefly.

Vacation was great as far as fishing was concerned. Caught lots of good sized crappie. The downside was that my elderly mother (whom I took along) fell in my uncle's bathtub and cracked her ribs, causing us to spend five hours in the emergency room and - for her - a week of lying on the couch not able to do much. The trip home wasn't pleasant for her and I trust it will take her several weeks to recover. You don't bounce back quickly at 84.

This does serve a useful purpose, though. It's another good reminder to the elderly not to be stubborn and not to do things you ought not to do. Broken ribs and broken hips can be fatal for senior citizens. My mother's accident happened while I was out in the lake fishing with my uncle. She didn't tell us about it immediately (that's another bad idea), and when she did, we headed to the ER immediately. There was a shower in the house that she should have used, but she decided she wanted to get down in the bathtub instead - something she really can't do in her condition. And she paid for that lapse in judgment.

I often have people ask me why I don't have my mother and stepfather in a nursing home. The reason is that I don't approve of that option unless it's absolutely medically necessary. So many people shove their folks off into nursing homes, which aren't the most pleasant places in the world, to put it mildly. While it is necessary in some cases, for the most part it's just because the children of elderly parents just don't want to be inconvenienced. Selfishness galore. Is it difficult? Yes. Is it quite an adjustment? Yes, for them and for me. However, it's right. I know that I will have no regrets once they pass on. I am doing the best that I possibly can and will continue to do so as long as I can.

The Bible talks of honoring your father and mother, and also speaks of how the old are to be treated before the Lord. We would do well as a society to remember that. We forget it all too easily.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I'm back..sort of...

Yes, a week of vacation. Sort of. Just got in a while ago. I am tired. I will post. Tomorrow. It's been interesting. An ordeal. With a few bright spots.

A typical Griffith event. More later.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Solameanie Heads South

The Seventh Sola will be posting sporadically over the next week or so. For the first time in two years, I am going to head to Arkansas for a little crappie fishing. I will have email access, and will try to find a hot zone now and then to post on this blog, although that is uncertain in the Ozarks. Past attempts to post via dialup don't work too well.

Anyway, I need some R and R, so pray with me that I get some. I will try to post something now and then. I'll be back to the normal schedule on the 17th.

God bless, all!
So McGreevey Wants to Be a Priest?

Yes, it appears the disgraced former governor of New Jersey wants to become an Episcopal priest. If you remember James McGreevey, he's the guy who had to leave office after it came out that he cheated on his wife with another man. His ex-wife, who stood stoically by his side at the time, now is revealing her true sense of betrayal and outrage. But that's another story. I am more concerned with the theology involved here.

Apparently, since the American Episcopal Church okayed an openly homosexual bishop with no apparent consequence, McGreevey thinks he can live in sodomy and hand out communion wafers too. In reality, he would just be be another perfect example of what the Bible describes as "having a form of godliness, but denying the power." And this takes some chutspah, styling yourself as a man of the cloth while living a lifestyle that the God whom you are supposed to be serving calls an abomination. The Bible is quite clear on this subject. But who cares what the Bible says in much of the Episcopal Church these days? In fairness, there is a significant number of Bible-believing Episcopalian congregations that have been trying to divorce themselves from their apostate "brethren," desiring to put themselves under the authority of African bishops who still believe the Word of God ought to mean something to people who claim to be Christians. The liberal church hierarchy has been fighting them tooth and nail, of course. We need to pray that God will grant them repentance while there is still time. I think that the new female Episcopalian archbishop (or whatever she is) should take note that judgment begins with the house of God. God's Word still stands whether she and her fellow clergy like it or not, and no matter how much they try to explain it away or redefine it.

This sad situation ought to be a warning to evangelicals who are tempted toward a lower view of Scripture and orthodox doctrine. Once it starts, it's very hard to stop, like malignant melanoma.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Taking the Plunge on Baptismal Regeneration

Due to some circumstances within my own family, I have had to deal with this subject again (much to my dismay). For the record, I grew up in the church of Christ (that's how they spell it) - the non-instrumental one. I grew up believing that the C of C was the only true church. All other churches were wrong and their members not true Christians. The C of C alone was restoring New Testament Christianity. If you came into the church from another fellowship, you had to go forward again (you weren't really saved, see) and be re-baptized because you weren't baptized correctly. Most important of all, if you aren't baptized, you aren't saved. In other words, they believed in baptismal regeneration even though they jumped all over the Catholics for their version of baptismal regeneration. This subject has been dealt with amply by many Bible scholars and teachers, who have refuted baptismal regeneration rather soundly in my view. Therefore, I will not exhaustively deal with it here except for a couple of comments.

One of the linchpin verses used to justify baptismal regeneration is Acts 2:38. "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." This verse shows the difficulty that can arise when you are translating from one language (Greek) into another (English). Most Bible teachers I have read say that grammatically, you can't use this verse to justify baptismal regeneration because forgiveness of sins is tied to repentance and faith, not baptism. While I am personally not a Greek scholar, I do know this cardinal rule of hermeneutics - you never cherry-pick a verse or two out of Scripture and build an entire doctrine around it. Now, in fairness, the C of C does use other verses to try and justify their stand on baptism (generally stretched attempts in my view), but this one in particular is one of their foundational verses.

However, taking the whole counsel of God into view throughout Scripture, you get quite a different picture. First, there is this key passage demonstrating how Abraham was justified by faith, not works. In Abraham's case, the "work" was circumcision, but the principle applies when we are talking about baptism, another work.

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED. BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.” Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith(Romans 4:1-13).

I would also refer to the example of the household of Cornelius in Acts 10. The Holy Spirit fell on the household of Cornelius before anyone had been baptized. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit does not fall on or fill unregenerate people.

There is much more I could say here, but I will end this post with a solemn warning. We add works to the Gospel at our own peril. By the works of the flesh shall NO man be justified. Did Jesus command baptism of believers? Yes! If we love Jesus, we obey His commandments. But our obedience to His commands does not and cannot earn our way to heaven. Our obedience is a RESULT of our salvation, not a cause of it. If we dare stand before God and say that we should be in heaven for any other reason outside of the shed blood of Christ and His grace, the only words we will hear is "Depart from Me!"

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Hilla Hilla Hilla Chameleon

My schedule is such this week that I don't have time for a more in-depth post, but Hillary Billary Clinton has been doing something of late that I find particularly irritating. The news media have briefly noted from time to time that Hillary has been adopting faux accents in various places where her campaign stops. She even dismissed the muted criticism with a joke about the country needing a "multi-lingual" president. (Never mind we're talking dialect, not language).

This is really just a symptom or outward manifestation of the disengenousness of Hillary's campaign. You could probably lambaste many of the candidates with this, but Hill has drawn my attention for the moment. I for one am very tired of candidates trying to fool the public into voting for them through telling them what they want to hear or acting like they're one with the people to whom they're pitching their snake oil. How about someone being genuine and telling their audiences what they REALLY think, and offering concrete, in-depth solutions to the country's problems instead of nyah-nyahs aimed at their opponents?

When it comes to Hillary, she is nothing more than a hard left idealogue who will try her best to mask her true intentions until she gets in office. Then it's "Katie bar the door!"

No thanks.

P.S. Did anyone see the little piece on Barack Obama and his "faith" this week? He was drawn into the United Church of Christ via a profane pastor who preached liberation theology. Obama isn't even sure if God exists, according to this particular article. If that's true, that should speak volumes to the American populace. Or should, only if the American populace wasn't sound asleep.