Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Brief Pause . . .

I just realized (and was very aghast) that I haven't posted anything since July 20th. Not even my weekly installments from The Fundamentals. That's aggravating. When you begin a series, you need to keep up with it.

I really am sorry for the dearth of posts of late, but my schedule has been completely nuts. Increased responsibilities at the office, helping the folks out with medical visits and other issues, plus several unexpected preaching engagements. Earlier in the summer and late spring, it was several weekends to work on the radio studio . . . I guess you can get the idea.

If that wasn't enough, it's canning season for our garden. Green beans and potatoes are coming off now, with tomatoes and peppers to follow. That means at night after work for a while, I'm probably going to be busy helping my mother can and process produce. So, I am going to take a week's hiatus and see how things go. Lord willing, I'll be back to posting August 1st. Hopefully more regularly.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Islam and "Freedom"

I had to chuckle (albeit grimly) when the network news carried a story this week about Muslims taking to the streets in Europe over "burkha bans." I hunted in vain for the photo used in the report, where the marchers were carrying a huge banner saying "Down with the West."

What a laugh, and what hypocrisy. All in the same breath, they say "Down With the West" and yelling about "freedom." The laugh is that they're not willing to grant freedom to anyone else. Look at the signs. Look at the situations in countries where Islam reigns supreme. Dare to stand sometime on a street corner in Riyadh and begin preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and see what happens. Try it sometime in Turkmenistan.

Here's the deal. They want to use Western freedoms to eventually gain control and take those freedoms away. Why are some Muslim figures here in the U.S. calling for state or national laws to become more "Sharia compliant?" We don't observe Sharia here, thank you very much. And we won't, if I have anything to say about it.

We'd better wake up and see what's happening. Radical Islam has a political component to it, and is the one instance where blanket "religious freedom" is not a good idea.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Giant Hogweed Returns Again!

Looks like Genesis will have to go back into the studio whether they want to or not.

According to little story out of Canada, giant hogweeds have been popping up in various locations around the country. They're quite a nasty plant, too. Their secretions can burn your skin or your corneas if it happens to get in your eyes.

And why the Genesis reference, if you're not familiar with my favorite secular band? Because they wrote a song about it. A very long time ago.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Word - The Light of God

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by Arthur T. Pierson

This Book, thus one, we are to hold forth as the Word of Life and the Light of God, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. We shall meet opposition. Like the birds that beat themselves into insensibility against the light in the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, the creatures of darkness will assault this Word, and vainly seek to put out it's eternal light. But they shall only fall stunned and defeated at its base, while it still rises from its rock pedestal, immovable and serene!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

ACORN Absolved?

There's an interesting account in this Politico article about a "review" of ACORN that found no illegality in their use of funds.

What makes it interesting to me is that the lefties are crowing about how this "absolves" ACORN of wrongdoing, and they're really enjoying the arrest of the two young conservative activists who filmed the video stings that got ACORN in hot water. Let's state some things here first.

1. I note with interest that ACORN commissioned this "review. "

2. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC did a report on this story, highlighting the "investigation" of liberal California Attorney General Jerry Brown (who is also a gubernatorial candidate) as somehow absolving ACORN. It also cites the General Accounting Office, which is headed by an Obama appointee and is also overseen by Congress, now under the firm control of Democrats.

3. The two activists who did the films are being prosecuted for allegedly breaking the law in doing the films. It's also alleged that the films were selectively edited to make ACORN look bad. Who is doing the prosecuting? Democratic prosecutors? The State's Attorney in Baltimore, Maryland?

Let's see the tapes in their entirety and find out how they were edited. Or better yet, let's get this into court where there can be discovery and/or cross examination.

4. I tend to dislike sting operations, especially those of the entrapment variety. If people were falsely charged, the accusers need to be held accountable.

But you'll forgive me if I remain highly skeptical.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wickham and Steele - What a Hoot!

Reading USA Today usually hikes my blood pressure, but now and then something comes along in its pages that is a real hoot.

I am talking about this week's column from liberal DeWayne Wickham, who is calling for GOP chairman Michael Steele to join the Democratic Party.

Now, some Republicans might well be happy if Mr. Steele does so, and Steele's background as cited by Mr. Wickham is interesting. Even more interesting is Wickham's applause for liberal Republicans like Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Scott Brown (and before them, liberal Maryland Republicans like Charles Matthias. Wickham likes these kinds of Republicans because they always vote with the Democrats when it counts. I hope Michael Steele isn't really one of their number, but we'll see.

The real hoot, though, is when DeWayne Wickham talks about the Democrats being open-minded and big-tent inclined. "No litmus tests are needed." Hmmm. Too bad the late Governor Bob Casey isn't around to respond to that one after being denied a slot at the Democratic Convention because of his pro-life views. As for so-called conservative or moderate Democrats, I don't see a whole lot of them willing to buck the Obama Administration these days. They huff and puff, and hem and haw, but in the end, their vote seems to be there when needed.

Oh, well. We need comic relief from time to time, and thanks to DeWayne Wickham for providing it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

LCMS - Standing for Truth

I've always applauded the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod for holding to a core of biblical truth. That's not to say I agree with Lutheran doctrine in every point, but in terms of the Gospel and biblical inerrancy, they've been pretty solid.

In this Christian Post article, Gerald B. Kieschnick – president of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod – thanked his denomination for uniquely preserving the Gospel. The article goes on to describe ongoing issues as they relate to working with the far more liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Here's a clip discussing related activities at the Missouri Synod's convention . . .

During its eight-day convention this week, the LCMS will be considering resolutions in response to the ELCA's decision last summer to allow noncelibate gays and lesbians on the clergy roster. One of the resolutions commends the "Theological Implications of the 2009 ELCA Decisions" document for study and reference.

While the two Lutheran bodies had partnered together in works related to mercy and relief, the ELCA's action – or what Kieschnick described as a desertion of biblical truth – now threatens that cooperative relationship, the document states.

The document does not call the LCMS to immediately cut ties with the ELCA but it expresses hope that their theological position will be respected and that they can "avoid any policies or decisions which would require us to cease our support and involvement in their activities."

Further frank and serious discussions on the matter are also needed, it adds.

In his report Sunday, Kieschnick indicated that the ELCA has descended into "the swamps of compromise," deluded Christian doctrine, and edited "God's Word to suit the whims of the day."

And just as the LCMS defended the "purity of the Gospel" in the early 1970s, they are continuing that fight today, he noted.

One thing that troubles me about the words above is the reference to "further frank and serious discussions" on the matter. In other words, "dialogue." Liberals and progressives LOVE dialogue. Endless, endless dialogue until their opposition is worn down, tired and willing to eventually compromise (or cave in) to bring peace. I think it's time that the church (and by that, I mean the true, confessing church which holds to historic doctrine and biblical authority) puts an end to "dialogue." There is no dialogue when it comes to watering down the Gospel or watering down biblical standards. To the ELCA and any other liberal church group out there, our message ought to be "Repent!" There is no alternative and we will not listen to any further arguments. Discussion is over. When you have one body of "believers" that is hell-bent on abandoning biblical truth and adopting the world's values over God's values, there is nothing to discuss. The same could apply to conservative, Bible-believing Anglicans and the rebelling U.S. Episcopal Church.

Pastor Kieschnick concluded his remarks with this little warning, which I love . . .

"Time is short and Hell is hot," he noted. "I pray that we will recommit to proclaiming the one message of Christ and Him alone."

No doubt the reference to Hell will send liberals into hissy fits, but that's just fine. I'd like to send them into many more. It's high time, too!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Knowledge of God (Part 2)

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by Dr. David James Burrell

The second pathway of the God-seekers is Reason.

Here we come upon the philosophers and those who travel with them. This also leads to disappointment; as it is written, "The world by wisdom knew not God."

The golden age of philosophy in Greece followed close on the decay of the Pantheon. It was when the people had lost confidence in their idols and the cry was heard, "Great Pan is dead!" that the Groves and Gardens and Painted Porches arose on the banks of the Ilyssus. The thoughtful men who assumed the name philosophoi, that is, "lovers of wisdom," were all seekers after God. The Stoics, Epicureans, Cynics and Peripatetics all hoped to discover Him by the light of reason. How vain the quest!

When Simonides was asked for a definition of God, he required some weeks for meditation and then answered, "The more I think of Him, the more He is unknown." The innumerable gods and altars of Athens had been laughed out of court; and the results of philosophic inquiry were recorded on that other altar which succeeded them, "To the Unknown God."

The stock in trade of the philosophers of Athens was precisely that of the philosophers of our time. It consisted of four arguments, to wit: (A) The ontological argument; to the effect that the being of God is involved in the idea of God. This is good as far as it goes, but it falls vastly short of demonstration; and in any case it reaches no conclusion as to the character of God. (B) The cosmological argument, which reasons from effect to cause and expresses itself in the epigram ex nihilo nihil fit; our of nothing nothing comes." This is equally inconclusive, since the necessary Somewhat to which it leads is the merest shade of the shadow of a god. (C) The teleological argument, which proceeds from design to a designer; carrying with it a strong presumption as to infinite wisdom but taking little or no cognizance of the moral nature of God. (D) The anthropological argument, which infers the moral nature of God from the moral nature of man. This goes further than the others; nevertheless it is so far from being final proof in the mathematical sense that one may reasonably question whether any truth-seeker was ever really convinced by it.

These are the arguments which have been used by philosophers from time immemorial; and little has been added in the process of the passing years. The result, as a whole, is melancholy failure. The world by its wisdom, that is by the exercise of its unaided reason, has simply reached Agnosticism; it has not "found out God."

Sola's note: While this series eventually gets to the point, I will make it here: genuinely finding and knowing God must first and foremost be by divine revelation, as indicated by God Himself in Scripture. No one can come to the Son except that the Father draws him (John 6:44).

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Burning Down the Shack

Some months ago, I expressed some concern over a new book that has seemingly swept the church world by storm. The book is called "The Shack," by Paul Young.

In this new critique, author James DeYoung analyzes The Shack through the lens of orthodox biblical theology, and finds it severely wanting. Among the controversial aspects of Paul Young's book is what appears to be a theme of universalism, something he denies according to James DeYoung.

I am reading the critique now, and will probably end up doing a radio program about it. And if it turns out as I suspect, James DeYoung has done the church a service in exposing yet again bad theology that undermines the Gospel instead of proclaiming it.

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Knowledge of God

This week's installment from The Fundamentals

by Dr. David James Burrell

The man who does not know God has not begun to live. He may eat and drink, make merry, accumulate a fortune or wear a crown; but he has not entered into that better life of high hopes and noble purposes and aspirations which make us worthy of our Divine birthright. For "this is life eternal, to know God."

To put ourselves into just relations with God is literally a matter of life or death. All the ologies are worth mastering but THEOLOGY is indispensable. We must know God.

But where is He? "Oh, that I knew where I might find Him! Behold, I go forward but He is not there, and backward but I cannot perceive Him; on the left hand where he doth work, but I cannot behold Him; He hideth Himself on the right hand so that I cannot see Him!" The horizons recede as we approach them, and the darkness thickens as we grope like blind men feeling their way along the wall.

There are three roads which are vainly trodden by multitudes who pursue this holy quest. Each of them is marked, "This way to God:" and each of them is a cul de sac or blind alley, which leaves the soul still groping and crying, "Oh, that I knew where I might find Him!"

The first of these paths is intuition. There are no natural atheists. All are born with an indwelling sense of God. We do not enter on conscious life like the inferior orders; but "trailing clouds of glory do we come from God who is our home." In regions of darkest paganism there are traces of two innate convictions, namely, a Divine birth and a sinful alienation. hence the universal spirit of unrest so pathetically expressed by Augustine: "We came forth from God, and we shall be homesick until we return to Him."

No doubt there have been some who, with no light but that which shines along the pathway of Intuition, have made the acquaintance of God; but the vast multitude have simply arrived at idolatry. They have made unto themselves gods "after the similitude of a man"; gods, like the Brocken of the Harz mountains, projected on the skies. An idol is a man-made god. It may be carved out of wood or conjured out of the gray matter of the brain; but all gods, whencesoever they come, are idols, except the one true God.

In next week's installment, Dr. Burrell will look at the second futile road, which is reason.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

The Seventh Sola wishes one and all a happy Independence Day. And I'm also hoping and praying that we all collectively remember what this day is all about.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Joe Biden: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Former Senator and now Vice President Joe Biden is becoming much more than a gaffe-o-matic. Now he's using Nazi-associated words to describe Republicans. Funny, isn't it? Liberals hate being associated with communists, Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao, but they have no problem linking Republicans to Hitler, Mussolini and Pinochet.

Earlier this week, Mr. Biden called an ice cream shop owner a "smart ass" for wanting his taxes reduced. Part of me wants to advise the Democrats (including Barack Obama) to tell Joe to put a cork in it. On the other hand, the more outrageous he is, the more it helps conservatives by showing people who's really unhinged.

So go ahead. Keep talking, Joe.