Friday, May 28, 2010

Defining Inspiration

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

By Dr. James M. Gray
Moody Bible Institute

1. Inspiration is not revelation.

As Dr. Charles Hodge expressed it, revelation is the act of communicating divine knowledge to the mind, but inspiration is the act of the same Spirit controlling those who make that knowledge known to others. In Chalmer's happy phrase, the one is the influx, the other is the efflux. Abraham received the influx, he was granted a revelation; but Moses was endued with the efflux, being inspired to record it for our learning. In the one case there was a flowing in and in the other a flowing out. Sometimes both of these experiences met in the same person, indeed Moses himself is an illustration of it, having received a revelation at another time and also the inspiration to make it known, but it is of importance to distinguish between the two.

2. Inspiration is not illumination.

Every regenerated Christian is illuminated in the simple fact that he is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but every such an one is not also inspired, but only the writers of the Old and New Testaments. Spiritual illumination is subject to degrees, some Christians possessing more of it than others, but, as we understand it, inspiration is not subject to degrees, being in every case the breath of God, expressing itself through a human personality.

Tomorrow, the difference between inspiration and human genius.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

You May Be From Chicago If . . .

This was sent to me by a colleague. I'm not from Chicago, but I've been there often enough and live close enough to get most of the jokes. Some of them are a real hoot:

1. The 'living room' is called the 'front room'.

2. You don't pronounce the 's' at the end of Illinois . And, you become irate at
people who do.

3. You measure distance in minutes (especially 'from the city'). And you swear
everything is pretty much 1/2 hour away.

4. You have no problem spelling or pronouncing ' Des Plaines '.

5. You go to visit friends, or family, down south and laugh when they complain about
the traffic.

6. You understand that no person from Chicago can be a Cub fan AND a White Sox fan.

7. It's 'Kitty corner' not 'Katty corner'.

8. You know the difference between The Loop and Downtown

9. You eat your pizza in squares, not triangles, and you never refer to it as 'pie'.

10. You own celery salt.

11. You understand that the primary is the official local election.

12. You have drunk green beer on St. Paddy's Day.

13. Stores don't have sacks, they have bags.

14. You end your sentences with an unnecessary preposition. Example: 'Where's my
coat at?' or 'Can I go with?' My English teacher had fits with this one.

15. Your idea of a great tenderloin is when the meat is twice as big as the bun,
'everything' is on it and a slice of dill pickle is on the side.

16. You carry jumper cables in your car.

17. You drink 'pop', not soda.

18. You understand that I-290, I-90, I-94, and I-294 are all different roads.

19. You know the names of the interstates: Stevenson, Kennedy, Eisenhower, Dan Ryan,
and the Eden's.

20. You call the interstates 'expressways'.

21. You refer to anything South of I-80 as 'Southern or Central Illinois '.

22. You refer to Lake Michigan as 'The Lake '.

23. You refer to Chicago as 'The City'.

24. 'The Super Bowl' refers to one specific game in January 1986.

25. You have two favorite football teams: The Bears, and anyone who beats the Packers.

26. You buy the 'Trib', not the 'Tribune' or the 'Times', not the 'Sun Times'.

27. You know that despite being on the lake, there is no such place as the Waterfront.

28. You think 45 degrees is great weather to wash your car.

29. You picnic or ride your bike in the 'forest preserve'.

30. You cried when Bozo was canceled on WGN.

31. You know what goes on a Chicago style hot dog.

32. You know what Chicago Style Pizza REALLY is.

33. You know why they call Chicago 'The Windy City'.

34. You understand what 'lake-effect' means.

35. You know the difference between Amtrak and Metra, and know which station they
end up at.

37. You have ridden the 'L'.

38. You think your next door neighbor is a cousin to Tony Soprano.

39. You can distinguish between the following area codes: 847, 630, 773, 708, 312, &

40. You have, at some time in your life, used your furniture...or a friend's body,
to guard your parking spot in winter.

41. You respond to the question 'Where are you from?' with a 'side'.
Example: 'Westside,' 'Southside or 'North Side.

42. You know the phone number to 'Empire Carpet'!

43. You know what a 'garache key' is!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The International Order?

As you've probably noticed, events have intervened and kept me from getting to the installment from The Fundamentals as planned. Please pray for me and my schedule. It's been crazy with no slowdown in sight for the immediate future.

Be that as it may, I received via email the following commentary by author, apologist and researcher Chuck Missler. You can access it online here at his K-House website. It's about President Obama's speech to West Point graduates, which was notable for his hawking of a "new international order." I've decided to post Chuck's commentary below, as it's excellent food for thought. I'm not interested in being a citizen of a new international order. I'm happy with being a citizen of the United States.

Obama's International Order
by Chuck Missler

President Obama's Commencement speech to the West Point graduates this weekend has gotten flak for its emphasis on developing a new "international order" and putting too much faith in global institutions. His speech comes on the heels of Joe Biden's comments to the European Parliament that Brussels should have the title "capital of the free world" - in opposition to Washington DC. Despite all the controversy and bloodshed perpetuated across Planet Earth, politicians still cling with idealistic tenacity to the idea of global peace and unity. Peace and unity are great goals, of course, but the perpetual problem is that godless governments have always resorted to tyranny in their attempts to produce their philosophical utopias when troublesome human beings have refused to conform.

US President Barack Obama addressed the 2010 graduating class of the US Military Academy At West Point, the oldest of the United States' five military service academies, this weekend. Obama had some fun with the cadets, telling them, "And so, as your Commander-in-Chief, I hereby absolve all cadets who are on restriction for minor conduct offenses," for which he received applause. He elicited laughter when he followed that by saying, "I will leave the definition of 'minor' to those who know better."

Obama began his speech well enough, encouraging the West Point cadets, crediting the "competence and creativity and courage" of American soldiers with the successes in Iraq, and recognizing the work ahead in Afghanistan. He honored the "78 graduates of this Academy who have given their lives for our freedom and our security in Iraq and Afghanistan." The President declared his expectation of success in Afghanistan and his confidence in the innovation of American businesses. Throughout his speech the President promoted America as a great and heroic country.

Obama's speech did have some good stuff in it. Many parts of the speech rang true to Americans who love their country. Yet, some are skeptical of the President's real intentions and doubt his sincerity.

Former military intelligence officer and police detective Sidney Franes remarked that, "(Obama) talks a great fight, but he's a pushover for any tin-pot dictator or political thug."

Political strategist Mike Baker noted, "Politically, Obama loves to talk about the Constitution, but will bypass its provisions if he believes it hinders his agenda. He uses flowery language and colorful flourishes that hide his predisposition to socialism and neo-Marxism."

And Judith Miller reminds the readers of Fox News that Obama did nothing to promote human rights when Persian protestors were being beaten and killed last summer after the Iranian elections.

A president's words are extremely important, but the actions that follow the words have far more significance. Miller concluded, "It remains unclear whether future American actions and policies will be more consistent with his West Point objectives."

New "International Order":
Obama also went on in his speech to promote a new "international order" with the idea of improving upon times of historical international cooperation and making the world a better place. He said:

So we have to shape an international order that can meet the challenges of our generation. We will be steadfast in strengthening those old alliances that have served us so well, including those who will serve by your side in Afghanistan and around the globe. As influence extends to more countries and capitals, we also have to build new partnerships, and shape stronger international standards and institutions.

This engagement is not an end in itself. The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times -- countering violent extremism and insurgency; stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and securing nuclear materials; combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth; helping countries feed themselves and care for their sick; preventing conflict and healing wounds. If we are successful in these tasks, that will lessen conflicts around the world.

Never mind that the United Nations has failed to stop the nuclear ambitions of Iran or rescue the starving, tormented citizens of North Korea. Never mind the impotency of global governments to sponsor peace in a little country called Israel. Global cooperation sounds like a fantastic idea. The difficulty always comes down to the fact that human beings are not good at cooperation. Ultimately, the human race has a sin problem, and world governments have not embraced the One who can fix it. Not yet.

New "Capital Of The Free World":
Vice President Joe Biden raised eyebrows on May 6th when, in his flattery of the European Parliament, he handed Brussels the title of "capital of the free world."

"As you probably know, some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, DC as the 'capital of the free world,'" Biden said. "But it seems to me that in this great city, which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title."

The Vice President may have felt he was being humble and generous in making that statement, but if America bows to the European Parliament as the world's leader of freedom, then US sovereignty is endangered. The great danger of global governance is not just that it is bureaucratic or impossible. The great danger of global governance is when there are no free countries left to escape to. America can cooperate with its neighbors and get along with them, but America's standing strong as a truly free land ensures that persecuted peoples always have a place to run to.

One day the Messiah will return and rule the earth, and in that day all our heartfelt desires for peace will come to pass. In that day, Isaiah 11 tells us, the lion will lay down with the lamb:

"...The sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." - Isaiah 11:8, 9

Expecting world peace without the Prince Of Peace, though, is fruitless, and potentially dangerous.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pulling the Public Pension Plug

I've been saying for quite some time that the United States is going to have to get out of the "entitlement" mindset if it's ever going to recover from the massive debt hole. In his WND column today, Vox Day discusses the huge problem of lush pension programs on the public dole. Europe is already reaping the whirlwind, and we won't be far behind unless there's a change.

Note: I will have an installment from "The Fundamentals" tomorrow. I have had company for several days, and I'm behind schedule more than usual.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Way Politics Ought to Be

The South has a reputation for dirty politics, but now and then an example comes along that belies the stereotype and encourages the heart.

Check out this Harrison Daily Times story from Harrison, Arkansas. The race in question was a heavily contested Republican primary for the seat of outgoing Congressman John Boozman. The winner of the primary this week was Cecile Bledsoe, who had this to say about his opponents . . .

In a Wednesday press release, Bledsoe said, “I want to congratulate my opponents for their vigorous campaigns. Over the last three months, I have spent more time with Gunner, Bernie, Doug, Mike, Steve, and Kurt than I’ve spent with my own family. They are all formidable candidates, good Christian men, and patriotic Americans.”

The photo is of candidate and Boone County Judge Mike Moore, who was a candidate, as was another official named Steve Womack, the mayor of Rogers, Arkansas. Here's what he had to say about Moore . . .

Asked about his competitor, Moore, Womack said, “A lot of people in Boone County liked us, they liked our message. But they liked Mike Moore. They said, ‘He’s one of ours.’”

Womack said he said he also likes Moore. “We are both in the executive branch of government, we both have the same principles, and we have servants’ hearts,” he said.

Compare this shining example of good citizenship with the childishness and fecal slinging going on in Washington these days. Maybe the country (especially on the federal level) could learn something from Arkansas.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Since I'm on Volcanoes . . .

Imagine having one of these little road signs next to your house!

Remembering Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens before May, 18, 1980

Mount St. Helens after May 18, 1980

I'm a day late with this, but hey . . . I've been busy. Anyway, what a difference a little eruption makes. Just wait until Mount Rainier decides to wake up.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Woody Allen: Obama for Dictator

Sometimes stories come along that make you just shake your head and sigh. This is one of them.

At least there's one good thing about it. Someone like Woody Allen making statements like this actually helps conservatives make their case about liberals. I like not having to work or argue to make a point. Thanks, Woodster.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bible Critics

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by Dr. F. Bettex
Professor Emeritus, Stuttgart, Germany

How does the Bible prove itself to be a divinely inspired, heaven-given book, a communication from a Father to His children, and thus a revelation?

First, by the fact that, as does no other sacred book in the world, it condemns man and all his works. It does not praise either his wisdom, his reason, his art, or any progress that he has made; but it represents him as being in the sight of God, a miserable sinner, incapable of doing anything good, and deserving only death and endless perdition. Truly, a book which is able thus to speak, and in consequence causes millions of men, troubled in conscience, to prostrate themselves in the dust, crying, "God be merciful to me a sinner," must contain more than mere ordinary truth.

Secondly, the Bible exalts itself far above all merely human books by its announcement of the great incomprehensible mystery that, "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Where is there a god among all the heathen nations, be he Osiris, Brahma, Baal, Jupiter or Odin, that would have promised those people that, by taking upon himself the sin of the world and suffering its punishment, he would thus become a savior and redeemer to them?

Thirdly, the Bible sets the seal of its divine origin upon itself by means of the prophecies. (To be continued)

Friday, May 14, 2010

And Then There Were Three

As you've no doubt noticed, I haven't been posting much of late. This has really been a hectic period of life for me. It sort of began last December when my mother was in the hospital for pneumonia. Then my stepfather began having health issues. Then my responsibilities increased at work, and then the snowball really started rolling. I hope things will slow down soon so I can put something up of more substance. But this morning, I offer up a little diversion, and an enjoyable one.

Most followers of this blog know that I am a huge Genesis aficionado. This morning, I recommend their 1978 album "And Then There Were Three." It is their first album as a three-piece after the 1977 departure of guitarist Steve Hackett, and the prior departure in 1975 of lead vocalist Peter Gabriel.

This album came out the year I graduated from high school, and it's always been a sentimental favorite for a variety of reasons. Interestingly, it's the one that gets panned the most by critics, and even the band itself says it's their least favorite of all their recordings. Typical for me, isn't it? I go where no one else does.

The album has a very wintry feel to it, and is interesting in how the music evolves with three people covering musically where there were once five people writing and playing. I personally think it's highly underrated.

After this one, I'd recommend the albums "Selling England by the Pound," which is the best of the Gabriel-era albums, and then "A Trick of the Tail" and "Wind and Wuthering," both sung by drummer and now lead vocalist Phil Collins. Another interesting side note for the first Collins-led albums. He had just taken over as lead singer, and his voice in those days had a very pure, sweet, smoky tone to it. In subsequent albums to "And Then There Were Three," he began doing the more screaming, belting type of delivery he is largely known for today. His voice just doesn't sound the same now when singing a more mellow number.

Anyway, a good listen. I'll still be listening to this album in old age.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Dialectic and Biblical Truth

Hats off to Phil Johnson over at Pyromaniacs. In today's post, Phil decries the growing inability of evangelicals to discern truth. It seems they've been influenced too much by dialectical thinking rather than by biblical thinking. As Phil puts it . . .

I'm afraid too many people take that approach with the problem of discerning truth. They take a dialectical approach, where you resolve every issue by seeking the middle ground between two opposing extremes—as if you could combine an erroneous thesis and its equally erroneous antithesis and come up with a synthesis that is somehow true.

Well said. This deserves to be printed for a billboard and posted along interstate highways across America.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

The Uniqueness of Christ

This week's installment from "The Fundamentals"
By Dr. William G. Moorehead

The mightiest minds of the race . . . have tried to draw a perfect character, have expended all their might to paint a god-like man. And with what result? Either he is invested with the passions and the brutalities of fallen men, or he is a pitiless and impassive spectator of the world's sorrows and woes. In either case, the character is one which may command the fear but not the love and confidence of men.

Again, we ask, How did the evangelists solve this mighty problem of humanity with such perfect originality and precision? Only two answers are rationally possible: 1. They had before them the personal and historical Christ. Men could no more invent the God-man of the Gospels than they could create a world. The almost irreverent words of Theodore Parker are grounded in absolute truth: "It would have taken a Jesus to forge a Jesus." 2. They wrote by inspiration of the Spirit of God. It cannot be otherwise. It is not enough to say that the Divine Model was before them: they must have had something more, else they never could have succeeded.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Blasphemy from Comedy Central

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Looks like Comedy Central is developing a blasphemous new cartoon. Hint: the target is not Muhammed.

They can get away with it because Christians don't typically go on revenge vendettas when our Lord and Savior is blasphemed. We know that He can (and will) handle it Himself at the last judgment.

Come to think of it, Jesus is also seen by Islam as a prophet, even if they don't believe He's the Son of God. Let's see if any Muslims voice discontent over this as they do when someone draws a Muhammed cartoon. We probably shouldn't hold our breath.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Franklin Graham Comes Out Swinging

It's been a busy weekend and week so far. My apologies for not getting to my planned, regular posting from "The Fundamentals" on Sunday. Hopefully I can post one within a day or two to catch up.

In the meantime, allow me to tip my hat to Franklin Graham. In this Newsmax article, Franklin takes the gloves off at the Obama Administration and its apparent weakness on confronting radical Islam. The Pentagon disinviting him from the Day of Prayer is outrageous and shameful. I'm glad Franklin tells it like it is.

And one more thing. Read or listen to what he actually says, not news media distortions of his words.