Friday, December 28, 2007

Ben Witherington reviews "Charlie Wilson's War".
James White has a good post on the council of Trent, and how the catholic church of the time was not united in declaring books to be part of the canon that are not accepted by Protestants, or in declaring church tradition on equal par with scripture.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Trying out a new evangelism technique, Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests came to blows Thursday, arguing over how to clean the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. It was Fight club Bethlehem.

Jurisdiction of the church is divided among different groups who jealously guard their territory. Think of Wally and the Beav sharing a room and dividing it down the middle with a line. In this case, Wally is a Franciscan catholic, the Beav is Greek Orthodox and Eddie Haskell is Armenian Orthodox.

Greek Orthodox priests set up ladders to clean their part of the church, but they encroached on space controlled by Armenian priests. Shouting ensued, followed by the exchange of blows. They went at it for 15 minutes, even taking up brooms and iron rods as weapons. Think of IFC in robes. Policemen who tried to intervene were also injured. No one said "by this shall all know you are my disciples, that you love one another".

No Southern Baptists were hurt in the making of this post. This is not a report of an International Mission Board meeting. However, rumor has it that the Georgia Baptist convention will release a statement claiming this brawl is a natural consequence of the rise of Calvinism in the SBC.


I took the Baby and the Oldest to the gun range today (indoor) and fired a few rounds. They had never shot a gun before and have been nagging me to let them shoot mine. We shot the Glock 9mm shown above, a present from the Little Woman. We also shot a .38 and a .38 special. The "special" is what I took after the burgler with last year, the day after Halloween when a Trick or Treater decided to come back for more treats. He left before firing could commence.

The Glock was definitely the smoothest and easiest of the lot. The Baby demonotrated a natural affinity for it.

The Seminary Daughter will be upset that she did not get to make this run. Maybe I can take her tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2007


If you read this blog, you know that I think Al Gore is full of hot air and a lot of misleading information. Global Warming has become a hobby horse, making money for many and creating a climate of political correctness that even scientists won’t often contradict.

The fact is, despite the grand meeting in Bali, global warming has flat lined. It is not a matter now of assuming what is causing global warming and can we blame humans, notably Americans ones, but, in fact, is the earth warming? And the answer is no. (at least for now)

There has been no global warming this year, even with Al Gore talking so much, and flying everywhere in his private jet, and air conditioning his huge home. The global temperature is statistically the same as it was in 2006. Not only that, there has been no global warming this decade. Since 1998, the temperature has remained flat. It has not gotten hotter. This is science. It is an observable fact.

The often repeated claim that 1998 was the hottest year on record and the 1990s were the hottest decade in the United States, for example, is simply not true. The hottest year on record is 1934 and the hottest decade was the 1930s. The ten hottest years since we began keeping records in 1880 are: 1934, 1998, 1921, 2006, 1931, 1999, 1953, 1990, 1938, and 1939. And, as we approach 2008, only one year in this decade has made it into the top 10. If we were constantly warming, we would see the most recent years dominating the top 10, yet we have one in the ‘20s, four in the ‘30s, none in the ‘40s, one in the ‘50s, three in the ‘90s and one in the ‘00s. The ‘90s had some hot years, but the trend has not continued. Since 1880, no significant period long trend occurs.

We also know the predicted increase in hurricane activity due to heat has not occurred. This last hurricane season was the mildest of recent memory. No hurricanes hit the U.S. during the season. High profile predictions of numerous and massive hurricanes for the last two years have been totally wrong.

We also know, through measurement, that the carbon dioxide level of the atmosphere has risen. Since the hothouse gas theory relates increased CO2 levels to global temperature, the lack of temperature increases in 10 years is a scientific problem that needs to be solved.

This blog previously quoted scientists who attributed global warming to increased solar activity and predicted a cooling period within a few years. It would be interesting to see that prediction now coming true.

So, while the politicians and fear mongers and lap dog scientists seeking grants continue to wail about global warming, someone needs to figure out why it has actually stopped. The political movement for Global Warming continues in the face of science, however. Al Gore is certainly at the forefront of this wave of political hysteria. He has now won a peace prize for his “work”, which seems to me to be largely self promotion and certainly has nothing to do with peace.

But there are more and more scientists speaking out. More than 400 prominent scientists from two dozen countries recently objected to the claims of man-made global warming that are supposedly the consensus among scientists and politicians, at least according to Gore. Many of these scientists are either current or former participants in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Obviously, much is still in flux and our samples of data are time restricted. However, the data does not suggest the need for mass hysteria. Preachers who are no embracing this issue should be forewarned. You may end up with egg on your face as did those who touted Y2K as the End Of All Things.


And as funny as every. It's here.

His pictures are worth going there.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

You can read other bloggers on the Missouri Baptist Convention fiasco at:

Also note that Ed Stetzer of Lifeway Research is scheduled to speak at an Acts 29 event next month, and, I believe, was previously associated with them.

The Executive Board of the Missouri Baptist Convention has decided to break their partnership agreements with churches that are also affiliated with Acts 29, a church-planting network. The resolution reads (not well, I might add): Motion. Effective Jan 1, The Acts 29 Network is an organization which the MBC Exec Bd. Staff will not be working with, supporting, or endorsing in any manner at anytime. Amendment. While recognizing the autonomous nature of all areas of MBC life beyond that of the Executive Board Staff, the MBC Executive Board directs the Church Planting Department and other ministry departments to not provide CP dollars toward those affiliated with the Acts 29 Network.
The motion as amended passed by a vote of 28-10.

You have to like the head nod to autonomy of congregations, while they proceed to ignore it.

This evidently occurred because one of the churches held a meeting in a bar and some of the participants drank. Therefore, they broke their sponsorship agreements with all the church plants. This is like the SBC saying, because Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth is liberal, we have cut out all ties to all Fort Worth Baptist churches.

The MBC did not contact Acts 29 and discuss it. They just acted. Here is part of the reaction of Acts 29 (from Scott Thomas, director):

On January 1, several church planters in Missouri will lose their promised funding, not because they were guilty of breaking a rule, but because they were associated with a small church planting network (only 9 churches in Missouri are affiliated with Acts 29 Network).

Acts 29 Network and the Southern Baptists share the same mission: to seek and to save the lost; to go into all of the world and share the gospel of Jesus and to baptize and teach the believers through the local church. For this reason, we love the SBC, have appreciated our partnerships throughout the country and are now mourning the loss of our fellowship with the MSBC. Since Acts 29 Network has never been contacted by the Missouri SBC to seek reconciliation, clarity and understanding, I am requesting justice and not retribution as an honorable response to an abstinence policy that we fully respect. I am asking you to consider reversing the vote to read, “We reaffirm the policy of the Missouri Southern Baptists to abstain from alcohol and will remove any funding from church planters who disavow this position. That way the baby church doesn’t get thrown out with the fermented bathwater.”

These same MBC folks will be sitting around years from now wondering why they are in decline and no one wants to join them. The Acts 29 churches are normally church plants in hard to reach areas. They have largely been successful. Since Southern Baptists tend to be pragmatic and believe the generation of numbers means success, you would think they would be thrilled to have badly needed help starting new churches in hard to reach areas, especially among a younger generation that needs reaching. It is, frankly, hard to understand this reaction, except that alcohol has become more important than Christ to many of these convention bureaucrats.

A young SBC pastor friend of mine wrote:

The older SBC leaders are "attractional" rather than "missional." The older SBC leaders try to attract people to their churches by putting on the biggest show possible or by being more relevant. Whatever it involves, the older SBC leaders want their members at the church building every night of the week (unless they go out to knock on doors, which is the only kind of missional outreach the old guard approves), so they make their churches into a parallel universe with their own gyms, coffee shops, giftshops, etc. The problem is that the attractional approach does not attract unbelievers anymore (because church members don't know any unbelievers because they are always at the church building all the time). The attractional approach only succeeds in stealing the members of smaller churches that can't offer all the same services as the megachurch.

The missional approach tries to minimize the amount of money spent on the church building and the amount of time members spend at church. The missional churches want their members out in the world meeting unbelievers on their own turf (using approaches other than knocking on doors), even meeting unbelievers in places like bars.

The action takes away funding already promised to these new churches, money they are counting on to survive. The effect will be to hamper their growth, cause some of them to remove themselves from Southern Baptist ties and hurt new members who do not understand what it means to be a Baptist very well. Their impression of being a Baptist will now be to drop an atomic bomb to kill an ant.

Shame on MBC. This action is un-Christ like and harms the spread of the gospel. It is also unbiblical, as none of the scriptural guidelines for dealing with disputes or problems were followed. This is one of the practice what you preach deals. It shows how often we preach what the Bible says, but feel justified in ignoring it when we want to accomplish something.


First, Blogger ate my header. It was a great picture of a castle in Prague, taken by the Baby on her symphony trip. Today is it just gone. Poof. Just like Hillary's lead in Iowa. Vanished.

Second, you have to type in some letters for verification. It will NEVER take them the first time. No matter what.

I may have to think of blogging somewhere else.



Since Christmas is about the birth of Christ, the Incarnation, you could celebrate it by reading a book that discusses it. One you could try is Daniel Hyde's newest, God With Us: Knowing the Mystery of Who Jesus Is. You can buy it at Reformation Heritage Books.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Parents of the last few generations have generally tried to give their kids self confidence. Sometimes, we went too far. This story was related to me by a Sunday School teacher.

The teacher told the kids to draw something. She walked around and watched the children while they were drawing. As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.

The girl replied, "I'm drawing God."

The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like."

Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, "They will in a minute."

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Ray Ideus, who was a Lutheran minister for 30 years before becoming an atheist. Ideus sued the Spokane Washington Police department to remove the cross from the official chaplain’s badge. The city agreed to do it in a settlement.

Ideus said “It’s very important that they’ll have to take that cross off." It certainly is for an atheist, especially one who participated in the church and its ordinances for 3 decades. The cross must evoke terrible feelings of anger, reminding him of Christ's sacrifice, which he has rejected.

The preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.

Friday, December 07, 2007


One of the interesting stories floating around right now is the investigation by Republican Senator Charles Grassley into several television evangelists. He wants to see if their ministries are violating their tax-exempt status by spending donations on personal luxuries. I wonder what tipped him off? Was it Ken and Gloria’s new airplane? Was it the pictures of Benny Hinn and his wife shopping on Rodeo Drive? Was it Creflo Dollar driving around Atlanta in his Rolls Royce?

They are all proponents of the prosperity gospel to an extent. It raises many questions about Congressional power and other things. But, for today, I am interested in how the evangelists respond. You would hope to hear something like: No, problem. My finances are an open book. I don’t know if you have the power to investigate this or not, but I am a 501c3 organization as well as a parachurch Christian organization, so I want to be transparent so all my supporters will know I am honest and not using their gifts for my personal enrichment.

Two of them have basically done that. Joyce Meyer of, you guessed it, Joyce Meyer Ministries delivered information to Grassley's staff on Tuesday. Way to go Joyce. She obviously is not worried about the fact she spent $23,000 of contributors money on a marble topped toilet. Actually, in the scope of the spending of these “evangelists”, this is chump change.

Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of, yes you guessed it again, Kenneth Copeland Ministries had their attorneys deliver information to Grassley's staff. Way to go Ken and Gloria.

We don’t know what the information is, but, giving them the benefit of the doubt, applaud these two for being transparent and honest.

Not everyone has been so forthcoming.

Eddie Long of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Ministry said through representatives they will cooperate. However, Grassley has not received any material or had contact from the ministry.

Benny Hinn, World Healing Center Church, Inc., has arranged a meeting between Grassley's staff and his attorneys today. WHCCI pays Hinn a salary of more than $500,000 a year, so he can afford to travel. It will mean he will have to leave his $10 million seaside mansion. If he does this like his South American crusades, he will stop at a vacation resort going to and coming from, and do it all in a private jet. If we ask WWJD, the answer must be that he wouldn’t fly commercial.

Randy and Paula White, Without Walls International Church Today, had their attorneys make initial contact and say they will contact Grassley's staff soon and very soon, but have not provided any information. (I will tell you this. As an old financial crimes prosecutor, when they say they are bringing the information, but it takes them a long time, it makes you suspicious they are creating it or altering it. So, Randy and Paula, get on down there.)

Then, last and least in terms of cooperation is, Creflo Dollar. That is a great name for a prosperity guy, isn’t it? He heads up World Changers Church. Grassley wants to make sure it’s not really Money Changers Church.

The Georgia Dollar refused to turn over any more financial documents to the Senate Finance Committee. So, he evidently gave some information to the Senator, but it was not sufficient or was the wrong information. Dollar said Senator Grassley can subpoena him if he wants more information. (Pause for bull fighting music, as video shows matador waving the red cloth in front of the bull.)

Dollar does live well. He does not follow Jesus’ advice to the Rich Young Ruler. There is the $2.5 million mansion in Georgia. But, if Georgia is not on his mind, he can relax at an apartment in Manhattan. He can drive there in one of his two Rolls Royces. He will not have too much trouble putting gas in the Rolls, even at today’s prices, as the church took in $69 million last year. The church bought one of the Rolls, too. There are also 3 jets. (It’s like prunes. You have to ask yourself, is 1 enough? Is 6 to many?) The Apostle Peter did not foresee this when he told the beggar, “silver and gold have I none”.

In other legal entanglements, Dollar is part of the Board of Regents of Oral Roberts University, which has been named in a lawsuit concerning the finances of the university. Richard Roberts, son of Oral, recently resigned in the face of allegations of financial impropriety. The University gave an honorary doctor of divinity degree to Dollar. His degree is not in theology, by the way.

So, we’ll see if the Prosperity Preachers continue to prosper. There is one thing to be said for their message: it certainly works for them.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney gave a speech today to address the issue of his religion (except that he didn't). While millions try to decide if they could vote for a Mormon, including a number that wonder what Romney really believes, Romney basically ducked the issue and discussed broad themes of religious tolerance and advocated a sort of general Deism to be embraced by the masses, while tending to more specific beliefs in private.

Romney said "There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church's distinctive doctrines. To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the constitution. No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes President he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths."

This is nonsense. A citizen is entitled to know what a candidate believes before he entrusts the leadership of this entire nation to him. It is not a "religious test", but it is part of the character and personality of the man that must be evaluated. For an extreme example, does Romney mean he would not want to know if a candidate was a Raelian before voting? It would not matter to him that the candidate believed in aliens and thought a space ship had come and hidden in space and you had to kill yourself to join it? If he really thinks that, he is as nutty as the Raelians. I don't believe he thinks that, I think he is afraid to make his beliefs known.

Evangelicals want a conservative, but they want someone who is an Orthodox Christian, if they are smart, because only someone with basically orthodox beliefs can understand them and lead the country in a way that they will believe is moral and effective.

If Romney is to pursuade Evangelicals that they can vote for him, he must satisfy them he is not a member of some weird cult. Many Christians would be disturbed to know a candidate believes God was once a man, that Christ was born of a physical union between a physical father and mother, that you must be a Mormon elder or married to one to get to heaven, that the American Indians were descendants of Israeli tribes (a claim DNA testing has shown to be impossible), that Joseph Smith claimed to have translated a papyrus from "Reformed Egyptian" though translaters have determined it is just a part of the Book of the Dead.

Romney's talk is full of non sequitors and vague but grand sounding claims. I think his supporters will say it was great, his detractors will hate it and the rest will be confused.

Discount Store: "Hello, Walmarts, how can I help you?"

Customer: " I would like to order a cake for a going away party this week."

Employee: "What you want on the cake?"

Customer: "Best Wishes Suzanne" and underneath that "We will miss you".


A blind man wanders into an all girls biker bar by mistake. He finds his way to a bar stool and orders some coffee. After sitting there for awhile, he yells to the waiter, "Hey, you wanna hear a blonde joke?"

The bar immediately falls absolutely silent. In a very deep, husky voice, the woman next to him says, "Before you tell that joke, sir, I think it is only fair given that you are blind -- that you should know five things:

1. The bartender is a blonde girl with a baseball bat.

2. The bouncer is a blonde girl.

3. I'm a 6 foot tall, 175 lb. Blonde woman with a black belt in karate.

4. The woman sitting next to me is blonde and a professional weightlifter.

5. The lady to your right is blonde and a professional wrestler.

Now, think about it seriously, Mister. Do you still wanna tell that joke?"

The blind man thinks for a second, shakes his head, and mutters, "No...

Not if I'm gonna have to explain it five times."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


In case you ever wondered just how die hard Aggies can be, consider this. The municipal cemetery at College Station is almost at capacity. So, the city needs to make a new one. It will have an "Aggie Field of Honor" where Aggies can be buried "in view of Kyle Field". Kyle Field, if you don't know, is the football stadium.

The field of Honor will have a lane of 12 columns (representing the 12th Man) and the sight line will be past the Spirit Gate Memorial directly to Kyle Field. The columns will be 25 feet tall and aligned in pairs facing each other, symbolizing Aggie Muster. The Spirit Gate Memorial will be a large block A&M monument.

Quite a few old Ags come back to College Station to retire. The Little Woman would do this today if she could. Now they can retire permanently and never leave the premises of their beloved College Station.

So, I guess you could say this cemetery is an Aggie Muster while old Ags wait for the Final Review, when all Ags everywhere will pass in review before the Commander and then join the final Muster that will last forever.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mitt Romney will deliver a speech on religious faith at the George H. W. Bush library on Thursday. Romney is a Mormon. It is an issue in his campaign for the presidency. If you are old enough, you might remember John Kennedy did this same thing to address the issue of Catholicism, since we had never had a Catholic president at the time and people were worried he might sell us out to the Pope (the real Crusader, by the way).

Expect to hear a lot about religious liberty and religious tolerance. Expect to hear that his religion will not affect his governance. Don't expect to hear the word "cult" or "polygamy" or "celestial heaven" or becoming god.

Many evangelical Christians think the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a cult and is not Christian. Many who claim to be evangelical Christians don't really know any thing about it or know enough about what they believe to distinguish the difference, but that is another post.

Actually, it is not only evangelicals. Almost half of Americans are reluctant to vote for a Mormon. This is not good for the general election, for those of you thinking of voting for Romney in the primaries.

There have been some Christians who have proposed voting for Mitt on the grounds that his conservative ideas and morals should count more than his religion. Romney also has good hair, which is worth a lot of votes. But, the Mormon issue keeps coming up and Romney's lead in Iowa has eroded. He now trails Mike Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, in the most recent poll. I guess I cannot understand why, if you wanted to vote on Christian principles, you would vote for a Mormon rather than a fellow evangelical. But that's just me.

Conservative ideas are great. I wish we all had them. But, as a Christian, you have to be concerned about the message of the Gospel and the orthodox Christian faith. You already have so much confusion about it. Non-Christians turn on the television and see guys conducting fake healings. They hear preachers promising them riches in return for gifts. My daughter and I heard one Saturday say God could make you a millionaire in a month, but first you had to prepare yourself. How do you prepare yourself to become a millionaire in a month you ask? Well, of course, by giving all of your money to this minister.

If you care about the Gospel and the faith, I do not see how you could vote for a Mormon, whose religion is not orthodox Christianity but is doing everything in its power to claim to be such (in clear violation of Joseph Smith's claims).

I guess Mitt is not going to like this post either.

Did you ever contemplate that you might be executed because of the name of a teddy bear? The answer to that is “no” in most places of the world, but not in the Muslim world. In Sudan, a British teacher was arrested and jailed because her class named a teddy bear after the Muslim prophet. There were even calls for her execution. Hundreds of protesters, some waving swords, protested outside the presidential palace.

She was actually sentenced to 15 days in jail for her offense or, at least, the offense of the children under her care. To the credit of the government of Sudan, its president Omar al-Bashir pardoned her. She had, though, served 9 days in jail. 9 days is a long time in a Sudanese jail, especially if you are not too sure you will survive it. After the pardon was announced, the court went further and ordered the teacher deported. This is a blessing, but don’t tell the court. If she stayed, some fanatic would have murdered her.

It should be noted also that the teacher did not name the teddy bear “Mohammed”, but the children in her class did.

The president of Sudan apparently pardoned the teacher due to the efforts of Nazir Ahmed and Sayeeda Warsi, who, believe it or not, are Muslims, and are also members of Britain’s House of Lords. They told the Sudanese government it would create international goodwill toward their country. That may be an overstatement, but it will at least keep the international community from thinking everyone in Sudan is insane. They will still think many of the people in Sudan are insane.

The matter may not be over, either. No, President Bush has not threatened to invade Sudan. However, terrorist leaders are threatening to kill the teacher. Some want retaliatory attacks against U.S. and British targets. Now, you would think a retaliatory attack would mean they had been attacked by the U.S. and Britain. But, no, unless by retaliatory attacks they mean jihadists will be buying dozens of teddy bears and naming them Jesus or Budda or whatever else is worshipped in those two countries. I do like the fact that the U.S. was not involved in any way, yet the terrorists think it would be appropriate to attack the U.S. in retaliation. We could call it the Teddy War, I guess.

Muhammad Abdel-Al, a leader of the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committee, a terrorist group, said "We call on our Sudanese brothers to prepare themselves with explosive belts and not allow this bitch to see the light of day." It is ok to use bad words when you are threatening to kill Crusader Women. Abdel-Al asked the Sudanese government "not to give into the international and Christian-Crusader pressure to set this bitch free."

"I pray to Allah that I could have the opportunity to go to Sudan with my brothers to slaughter this unbeliever Christian. We ask the Sudanese to execute her in [the] hardest way. Any execution must be public; she must be stoned or fired on and the punishment must be harsh," Abdel-Al said.

Note to non-historians and Muslims: the Crusades were over 1,000 years ago and this woman was not there then. Nor were any of the rest of us.

You’ll like this line: “With all the tolerance that Islam has, we must not bear any of this activity." Has anyone seen any of this tolerance? You are threatening to kill a little school teacher over a teddy bear’s name and you can even mention tolerance in the same speech. Now, that is insane.

Abdel-Al is pretty fired up about Americans, as well, even though America did not even exist during the Crusades. He called for "jihad to attack all these people wherever they are. Any attack must be loud. Any damage that can be caused to the Satanic empires of the U.S. and Britain is allowed."

“Crusaders have no religion, culture or human values ... all your values are corrupted, inhumane, based on sex and materialism." Well, then. Now we know why so many of you have immigrated over here.

Another guy that seems to have issues is Abu Ahmed, the northern Gaza Strip commander of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group. He wanted the Sudanese government to allow street mobs to deal with Gibbons.

"Our point of view is we say this woman must be given to the Sudanese people in the street. This is my proposal so the government will not be responsible for any damage or killing of this woman. Just give her to the Sudanese people and I'm sure the people there will send this woman back to her family and missionary bosses in the way that is the most suitable."

Now, we are used to hearing this type of thing. Really, any excuse to kill a European or American will do for these guys. Such as, today is Thursday. Interestingly, these same guys, so concerned that the name of a teddy bear profanes their prophet, bomb the mosques of other sects of their own religion, which, you would think, would sort of profane the prophet’s name, don’t you know.

Abu Ahmed, a participant in the religion of peace, said Judaism and Christianity were "falsified" and that "Islam came to correct all other fake religions." It sounds like he has been talking to Joseph Smith, doesn't it? Since Smith came to do that, and came after Mohammed, should the Muslims convert to Mormonism? And which is better, getting 70 virgins or your own planet?

There really are some similarities. Both religions have a prophet that said Christianity was all wrong, although they coopted the Jewish prophets for their own. That is a little confusing to me on behalf of Islam. They hate the Jews and want to kill them, but the use their prophets.

They both have their own holy book, although both books acknowledge Jews and Christians.

Both like to have a lot of wives, at least historically.

Both have substantially changed the Christian and Jewish view of heaven.

Mitt Romney is not going to like this post is he?

Friday, November 23, 2007


Thanksgiving dinner is always an adventure at my house. We always have an eclectic collection of family and friends. One of the most interesting is my mother in law. She will almost always come out with a wild story or comment. I used to sort of "egg her on" as we say in Texas, but the Little Woman has taken to giving me "The Look" for that.

So, this time I just timed it. It took 12 minutes. We were talking about television shows we watch. She likes CSI. The comment? She told the Oldest Daughter (who lives in New York City and is a singer\actor) that, everytime she sees one of the corpses on the autopsy table, she thinks of her.

I laughed until I cried. I couldn't help it. Everyone else just looked at her horrified. Then, the Baby caught it from me and the two of us tried to hold it in. I had tears running down my face and nearly choked.

Life is good.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I hope you actually give thanks. It's God's will for your life, no matter what your circumstances.

I have much to be thankful for, so let me thank God for many blessings.

I am thankful, first and foremost, for the grace of God that brought me and all of my family into his kingdom and eternal life. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I am thankful for the blessing of a Godly wife. The list of her good qualities is inexhaustable, but to name a few, she if loving, faithful, generous, self-sacrificing and hard working.

I am thankful for my children, who have each been a great blessing to me. I am thankful that the oldest and youngest are here and sad that the Seminary Daughter cannot come. Each of the three is loving, smart, beautiful and caring.

I am thankful for my son-in-law and how well he takes care of the Seminary Daughter now that I can no longer do it.

I am thankful to have a job, after many months of contract problems.

What a good life we have, with a greater life to come.

God is good.


Monday, November 12, 2007


I reviewed a contract today that sounded as if it were for a new, New Age, religion. It dealt with a Cosmos application for Oracle software. It sounds like something Carl Sagan might have come up with.

Monday, November 05, 2007

If you liked the words to the Reformation Polka, you can see an animated version of it at:

Friday, November 02, 2007


Thursday, November 01, 2007


(I sent out my annual Reformation Day letter, but forgot to post it. So, here is this year's version, a day late. Most of my readers don't celebrate All Saints Day anyway.

490 years ago Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church. The Reformation began. We still need reformation today.
Thesis 95 said “and let them thus be more confident of entering heaven through many tribulations rather than through a false assurance of peace”. This is relevant today when many false prophets teach that peace, success, wealth and health are guaranteed for those who follow Christ and give money to his supposed ministers. Protestantism is overrun with the Prosperity Gospel. Faith healers fill stadiums and television air time. Everywhere we turn we hear the message that your best life is now, that you have a champion in you, and that Jesus came to bring you earthly happiness, riches and success.
Yet, Jesus told us we would not have our best life in this world, but in the world to come. In fact, he told us not to pursue riches and comforts in this world. Jesus said not to lay up treasures on earth. He spoke of the deceitfulness of riches.
Jesus also told us that his followers would not have peace on this earth. He knew the world hated him and would hate his followers. If anyone deserved the best life Jesus had to offer, would it not be his disciples? Yet, he told them “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake.” (Matthew 24:9) He said we would have tribulation in this world.
Luther’s words ring true to those of Jesus. We will enter through many tribulations rather than peace. Yet, we are blessed for any suffering we have. Jesus said, in Luke 6:22, “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!”
The Prosperity Gospel in all of its manifestations and permutations is not the true gospel. It is a false gospel from false prophets. It must be opposed. Reformation must be ongoing.
As you know, this is but one of many false doctrines circulating through the church. The church, more than ever, needs those who know the Word and stand for it.
So, while others are celebrating Halloween, celebrate instead something that is crucial to us, the example of a humble man who studied the Word of God, understood its truth, and stood for it though king and pope tried to kill him for it, just as Jesus said they would. Semper Reformanda.

And now, on a lighter note, and thanks to the Seminary Daughter, I give you the Reformation Polka.


by Robert Gebel

[Sung to the tune of "Supercalifragilistic-expialidocious"]

When I was just ein junger Mann I studied canon law
While Erfurt was a challenge, it was just to please my Pa.
Then came the storm, the lightning struck, I called upon Saint Anne, I shaved my head, I took my vows, an Augustinian!

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

When Tetzel came near Wittenberg, St. Peter's profits soared,
I wrote a little notice for the All Saints' Bull'tin board:
"You cannot purchase merits, for we're justified by grace!
Here's 95 more reasons, Brother Tetzel, in your face!"

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

They loved my tracts, adored my wit, all were exempleror;
The Pope, however, hauled me up before the Emperor.
"Are these your books? Do you recant?" King Charles did demand, "I will not change my Diet, Sir, God help me here I stand!"

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

Duke Frederick took the Wise approach, responding to my words,
By knighting "George" as hostage in the Kingdom of the Birds.
Use Brother Martin's model if the languages you seek, Stay locked inside a castle with your Hebrew and your Greek!

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

Let's raise our steins and Concord Books while gathered in this place,
And spread the word that 'catholic' is spelled with lower case;
The Word remains unfettered when the Spirit gets his chance, So come on, Katy, drop your lute, and join us in our dance!

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Things are so bad in The Netherlands as they bend over backwards to accomodate violent Muslims, even the French are calling them cowards.

Come on guys, cowboy up!

Friday, October 19, 2007

After all these years and dollars of leading the way in extravagant programs and being imitated all over the country, Willowcreek Church had done a study and realized that all those programs did not result in more mature Christians.

I feel vindicated.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Who knew? There are Aggies in Wisconsin. See:

I wonder if their Inbox is full of "Fire Fran" stuff like mine is.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Here are some little known facts about Texas:

1. Beaumont to El Paso: 742 miles

2. Beaumont to Chicago: 770 miles

3. El Paso is closer to California than to Dallas

4. World's first rodeo was in Pecos, July 4, 1883.

5. The Flagship Hotel in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built over water.

6. The Heisman Trophy was named after John William Heisman who was the first full-time coach for Rice University in Houston.

7. Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other area in North America.

8. Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America's only
remaining flock of whooping cranes.

9. Jalapeno jelly originated in Lake Jackson (that's the name of the town) in 1978.

10. The worst natural disaster in U.S. history was in 1900 caused by a hurricane in which over 8000 lives were lost on Galveston Island.

11. The first word spoken from the moon, July 20, 1969, was "Houston.."

12. King Ranch in South Texas is larger than Rhode Island.

13. Tropical Storm Claudette brought a US rainfall record of 43" in 24 hours in and around Alvin in July 1979.

14. Texas is the only state to enter the U.S. by TREATY (known as Constitution of 1845 by Republic of Texas to enter the union) instead of by annexation. This allows the Texas flag to fly at the same height as the US flag, and may divide into 5 States.

15. A Live Oak tree near Fulton is estimated to be 1500 years old.

16. Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.

17. Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. There is no period after Dr in Dr Pepper.

18. Texas has had six capital cities:

1. Washington-on-the-Brazos
2. Harrisburg
3. Galveston
4. Velasco
5. West Columbia
6. Austin

19. The Capitol Dome in Austin is the only dome in the U.S which is taller than the Capitol Building in Washington DC (by 7 feet).

20. The name Texas comes from the Hasini Indian word "tejas" meaning friends. Tejas is not Spanish for Texas.

21. The State animal is the Armadillo. (An interesting bit of trivia about the armadillo is they always have four babies! They have one egg, which splits into four, and they either have four males or four females. Well, I thought it was interesting anyway).

22. The first domed stadium in the U.S. was the Astrodome in Houston.

As conservatives struggle with the current crop of candidates, evangelicals have really stsruggled trying to find someone who represents their ideas and beliefs and has a chance to win. All the while, in the back of their minds, the idea haunts that the wrong choice results in the Socialist Republic of Hillary.

Mark Demoss has decided to work for Mitt Romney. Many evangelicals have a hard time with Romney's Mormonism. I do,too. While he has many conservative ideals, you have to wonder if evangelical endorsement will not result in further maintreaming Mormonism and further confusing our post-Christian culture as to the real meaning of Christianity.

Demoss answers some of the questions, for himself, in an article in Time Magazine. You can read it online here.

Here is the money quote: But I concluded that I am more concerned that a candidate shares my values than he shares my theology."

I'm not sure I can do that.
Dan Phillips has a good post concerning the Republican candidates. If the leading man alienates 27% of the voters, why should the voters adapt, rather than the candidate withdraw? Good point.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


On this date, in 1635, the Massachusetts Bay Colony banished Roger Williams, finding him guilty of spreading new and dangerous opinions. Williams preached religious tolerance in the sense that the government should not enforce religious views. The leaders of the Colony called his views “Satan’s policy”.

The theological dispute concerned the first “table” of the Ten Commandments. The leaders of the colony felt it was the duty of the civil government to enforce all of the commandments, including the first table. That meant heretics were tried under civil law. Williams maintained they should only enforce the second table. Governor John Winthrop, ancestor of John Kerry, noted the judicial proceedings in his journal.

Williams left the Colony and bought land from the Narragansett Indians upon which he and his followers established a settlement called Providence.

Williams was an English Puritan who came to America hoping for religious freedom. He was a Separatist. He wanted the Puritans to break with the Church of England, the national church of Great Britain. He came to America to avoid arrest in England.

Williams is credited by many with establishing the first Baptist church in America. Southern Baptists often claim him as a supporter of separation of church and state, except when they are interfering with the operation of the state. Williams considered himself a friend to the Indians, but he did not try to convert them to Christianity.

Williams began to call himself a Baptist, but, like many Baptists today, he didn’t stay one. Later he called himself a "seeker". I haven’t researched to see if this is where the “seeker friendly” service started. But, he certainly became a forerunner of the nondenominational Christian.

Williams prevailed in the long run. At least his ideas did. None of the commands of the first table are now enforced in civil law. Only three of the commands of the second table (murder, theft and perjury)are enforced by civil law. Williams was the first to use the term "wall of separation" between Church and State. Thomas Jefferson later appropriated the term for his letter to the Danbury Baptists. Lots of people today think it is in the Constitution, but it is not.

Williams is also know in connection with Anne Hutchinson. Men in the Colony held meetings on policy and theology to which women were not admitted. (Modern Baptists call those deacon's meetings.) Hutchinson held meetings at her house where women were included. They often discussed theology and often expressed views opposed to those of the leaders. Governor Winthrop had Hutchinson exiled from the colony. Where did she go? She went to join the settlement of Roger Williams, who tolerated religious varieties. Hutchinson was later captured and killed by Indians.

Maybe Williams should have tried to convert them.

Friday, October 05, 2007

If you go here and click on the pink button, a sponsor will pay for a mammogram for someone who cannot afford it. You can donate without spending money, a Scotsman's dream.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Colorado was wonderful, but you do see some weird things on the road.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The English may have a better grip on environmental reality than Americans. A court in England ruled that Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth is not appropriate for schools because it is politically biased and contains serious scientific errors and partisan political views. I think I might like this judge. He further ruled that schools must give a warning before they show the film about global warming.

I think the warning should be “Al Gore emits more gas than the rest of the civilized world combined”.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Alexander Tyler, Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh in the 1700s:

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."

Friday, September 28, 2007


Hello, I'm blogging from the concierge desk at the condo complex we're staying at in Breckinridge, Colorado. It is 57 degrees. It has been sunny and beautiful all week, but just clouded over. Lindsey, we went horseback riding yesterday. I know you missed it. :)

Today the women are shopping. I've read some of my Robert Ludlum novel and some of my David Wells book.

It is great to get away to a beautiful place that is cooler (in both ways) than Cowtown.

Tomorrow we head back.

See ya.

Monday, September 24, 2007

1 Samuel 8

8:1-3 The Sinful Sons of Samuel

8:1 When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. 3 Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.

Samuel’s two sons acted as judges also, but they were wicked and did not follow Samuel’s ways. Like Eli’s sons, they were more interested in money and were corrupt. Their corruption caused the Israelites to be dissatisfied with the leadership of judges.

In addition, if you look over in chapter 12, it appears a military confrontation was looming. In that chapter, in verse 12, Samuel speaks of Israel seeing Nahash, the king of the Ammonites, come against them.

8:4-6 Israel Demands a King

4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord.

Israel still regarded Samuel as the ultimate judge or leader, and as God’s representative. So, they came to him for relief. They do not want to suffer under the leadership of Samuel’s sons, so they demand a king. Notice also that they asked for a king “like all the nations”. They wanted to be like everyone else.

Moses anticipated this demand and set forth the rules for a king in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. He said:

14 “When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ 17 And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.

18 “And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, 20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.

Some would argue that, since Moses said they could have a king if they asked, it was not wrong for them to ask for a king at this time. But, God clearly treats it as wrong, as we will see in the next passage.

I try not to “moralize” the Old Testament stories. I do not think they are there just for us to tell a story with a moral. I believe the Old Testament tells us the story of God’s work of redemption. Still, here, we see the great temptation of the Believer. We often want to be like everyone else.

This is not what God called Israel to do. They were not to be like everyone else, they were to be different, a nation holy to God. In Exodus 19:5-6, God said:

“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

They were to be set apart to God, or holy, and, as priests, his representatives to the world. He made a covenant with them to do this, including the law they would live by, and circumcision as a sign of the covenant. He promised to protect them and provide for them as long as they obeyed the covenant.

God calls us, as Believers, to come out of the world and to be different than the world. Paul constantly refers to Believers as those who were called, as in called out of the world and into the kingdom of God. Peter said, in 1 Peter 1:9 :

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Again, in 1 Peter 2:11-12, he said:

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

In 1 Peter 1:14-16 14, he said:

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Paul also called for holiness in God’s people. In Ephesians 4:1, he said: “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called”.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:7, Paul said “For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.”

Just as God called Israel out of Egypt to be his people, he has called us out of the world to be his people. We are to be holy and pure, both to please Him who is holy and to witness his holiness to the world.

8:7-9 Rejecting God

7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

Israel’s request for a king was a rejection of God as their king. This idea is repeated in 1 Samuel 12:12. They were seldom able to live as God’s people, obeying him, worshipping him and accepting his protection. From the time God brought them out of Egypt, they had rebelled against his direction, forsaken his worship and conformed to the world around them.

We have also seen previously in this book how Israel has reacted to crises. In the first battle with the Philistines, they brought out the ark as a good luck charm to win the battle, but did not call on the Lord. They were defeated. In the second attack, they called on the Lord and repented and the Lord protected them. Now, they are reverting to their old ways seeking something other than the Lord to protect them. This time it is a king.

So, God is going to give them what they ask for. But it is not a blessing, it is a judgment.

Psalm 118:8-9 says 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. Psalm 146:3 says 3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.

8:10-18 Samuel's Warning Against Kings

10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

In his grace and forbearance, God instructed Samuel to warn Israel of the burdens of living under an earthly king. Samuel warned them, listing all the things a king would take from them and all the privileges he would demand. Over and over he says “he will take”. That is what kings do. In verse 18, he prophesied that they would cry out for relief from the king, but God would not answer.

8:19-22 The Lord Grants Israel's Request

19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”

Israel did not listen to the warning. They demanded a king. Here again you hear them say they want to be like the nations. They want to fit in with the world.

So, God said he would give them a king. My mother used to say “be careful what you ask for; you just might get it.”

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Little Woman and I are taking a few days off and going to Colorado next week. I'm not sure if I'll get Internet access to blog or not, so, if not, you know why. And, if not, I'll have a lot of words to say when I get back.

The Little Woman says, "if men have 30,000 words per day to say, and women have 60,000 words per day, then Larry must have at least 100,000". And, just think, she has listened to this barrage since the early '70s.

Mr. Rogers asks: can you say longsuffering?
Sometimes a politician slips up and tells you exactly what they think. Sometimes what they say should concern you. This might be one of those times.

Felipe Calderon, the Mexican president: "Mexico does not end at its borders."

"Explaining Liberal Thinking In A Single Column" is a great article by John Hawkins at Here is the money quote: It's nothing more than "childlike emotionalism applied to adult issues."

Read the whole thing.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Prepare for dismay. A study of foster care in Texas reveals the following facts. Nearly 32,500 children experienced foster care in Texas last year. Pick a day and there will be around 20,000 Texas children in foster care. Half of these will spend 2 years in the system. 20 percent will fait over 5 years for a home.

Foster children also move a lot. The average child has at least 3 different foster family placements. Can you imagine trying to adjust to that?

As to adoption, there are 118,000 foster children right now waiting to be adopted. Unfortunately, however, 19,000 of them will "age out" before they get adopted. Due to the moves, abuse and problems, they are often no where near ready to be out on their own. Many have not graduated from high school. About a third of them have significant emotional\mental problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and depression.

How do they fare? Not well. One fourth will land in jail within 2 years. One fifth will come homeless at some point. Let's do the calculations. If 19,000 age out this year and one fourth end up in jail, that is 4750 young people in jail or prison. If one fifth become homeless at some point, that is 3,800 young people living on the street. This happens year after year. Yikes.

Texas courts are trying to deal with this situation to help, but it is overwhelming. It sounds to me like a place the church could step in and help.

Monday, September 17, 2007

John The Baptist

John McCain, Republican presidential candidate, says he is a Baptist and has been for years. McCain was “on the stump” in South Carolina when he said this. South Carolina has lots of Baptists.

McCain was raised as an Episcopalian. He has previously called himself an Episcopalian. You might expect this since he grew up in Virginia, which once required you to be one. He attended an Episcopal high school.

McCain said he and his family are members of the North Phoenix Baptist Church and have been for more than 15 years. He said "It's well known because I'm an active member of the church". However, McCain also said, in an earlier interview, his wife and two of their children were baptized in the church, but he had not been.

Therein lies the problem. The thing that makes a Baptist a Baptist is that he or she is baptized after professing faith in Christ. Episcopalians, and others, are infant baptizers. They baptize infants that are born to families that are members of the church. Baptists, on the other hand, do not baptize infants, they baptize those who make a profession of faith.

So, if McCain has only received infant baptism in the Episcopalian church, and not baptism as a believer, he is not a Baptist. He may attend a Baptist church, but he is not a Baptist and I am hard pressed to believe North Phoenix Baptist Church would list him as a member.

To make it worse, McCain does not have a proper understanding of baptism. He gave as his reason for not being baptized in the North Phoenix church the following: "I didn't find it necessary to do so for my spiritual needs". That sounds quintessentially American and modern, but it is irrelevant. You do not get baptized to meet your perceived spiritual needs. You get baptized because Christ commanded it and because it shows you to be a member of the church. The church is responsible for this, as Jesus told us in Matthew 28 to baptize disciples. Since Christ commanded it, it does meet your spiritual need, even if you do not recognize it.

The website for North Phoenix says this about baptism: “In Scripture, baptism followed the decision of a person to surrender one's self to God for salvation in Jesus Christ. Through baptism, we announce our commitment to the church and our desire to live a life following the example of Jesus Christ.” They stop short of listed it as commanded or necessary, which would be a nice addition.

It appears that religion is perceived as an issue in this campaign, and all the candidates are trying to establish religious connections that are appealing. I’m not sure being a Baptist is appealing outside the South. I’m glad McCain is attending a Baptist church, but I wish his pastor would give him a little dissertation on what being a Baptist means.
"If there's anything in life we should be passionate about, it's the gospel. And I don't mean passionate only about sharing it with others; I mean passionate in thinking about the gospel, reflecting upon it, rejoicing in it, allowing it to color the way we look at the world and all of life" Living the Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney, page 15.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Praise him! praise him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
Sing, O earth, his wonderful love proclaim!
Hail him! hail him! highest archangels in glory;
Strength and honor give to his holy name!
Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard his children,
In his arms he carries them all day long:

Praise him! praise him! tell of his excellent greatness,
Praise him! praise him! ever in joyful song!

Praise him! praise him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
For our sins he suffered and bled and died;
He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation,
Hail him! hail him! Jesus the crucified.
Sound his praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows,
Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong:

Praise him! praise him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
Heav'nly portals loud with hosannas ring!
Jesus, Saviour, reigneth for ever and ever;
Crown him! crown him! Prophet and Priest and King!
Christ is coming! Over the world victorious,
Power and glory unto the Lord belong:
1 Samuel 7

7:1-2 Israel’s Lament

7:1 And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the Lord. 2 From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.

At the request of the men of Beth-Shemesh, the men of Kiriath-jearim came and got the ark and took it to the house of Abinadab, which was on a hill. They set aside, or consecrated, his son Eleazar to take care of the ark. The reference to 20 years in verse 2 is probably not referring to how long the ark was there, because it was apparently much longer (40 years), but it was there about 20 years before the events of this chapter happen under Samuel. It’s not clear to me if they lamented for 20 years or if they only started to lament after the end of 20 years. (Kiriath-jearim was also known as Baalah, in Joshua 9, and kiriath-baal in Joshua 15). It is in the tribal allotment of Judah (Joshua 18:14), but was then apportioned out of Judah for the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:28). It was one of the Gibeonite cities that was not destroyed because Israel was tricked into making a treaty with them. Psalm 132:6 refers to David retrieving the ark from this city.

Israel lamented after the Lord during this time. “Lament” means to feel or express sorrow or regret for something, or to mourn for or over. I take this to mean that Israel regretted their loss of the Lord’s favor, signified by the loss of the ark. From what happens next, it appears there was still conflict and oppression from the Philistines. The Geneva Study Bible says they lamented for their sins, and followed the Lord. It was a time of conviction and repentance.

Interestingly, no reference is made to Shiloh or to the reason the ark was not returned there.

7:3-4 Samuel Calls Israel To Abandon Idol Worship

3 And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only.

In response to this time of sorrow and repentance, Samuel gave instruction to Israel on how to proceed. He began to preach that they must put away their idols. (He may have been preaching this the whole 20 years and they just now responded.) They had absorbed the worship of the Canaanite deities into their practice, building idols to Baal and Ashtaroth. They were violating the law of the covenant in two ways, first, having other gods besides the LORD, and making images. In Deuteronomy 4:23-24, Moses told the Israelites “Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the Lord your God has forbidden you. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”

Samuel told the Israelites to serve the Lord only and to direct their hearts to him. In Deuteronomy 6:5, Moses had told them “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” We see continually that the prophets preached the law and urged God’s people to return to obedience to him and his covenant and to love him totally. Jesus said the same thing. He said this was the most important commandment, in Mark 12:30. He said to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

Jesus also put it this way: “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37-38 NIV).

Samuel said, when you love him totally and serve him, when you demonstrate this by putting away all false gods and idols, then the Lord would deliver them from the Philistines. So, the Israelites did this. They put away all their idols and they served the Lord fully and completely. This was a great revival. Repentance requires sorrow. Jesus even said “blessed are those who mourn”. (Matthew 5:4)

But, repentance also requires more than sorrow. It requires turning away from your sin. Israel did this by turning from their idols.

7:5-6 The Outdoor Revival Service

5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” 6 So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah.

In light of the repentance of the Israelites, Samuel gathered them together to intercede for them with the Lord. This has to remind you of Moses, who often interceded for Israel with the Lord.

The people gathered. They fasted, they acknowledged their sin and showed their repentance by pouring out water before the Lord. This passage seems to be the only place this was done.

Samuel judged them there. He has acted as prophet, preaching the word of the Lord. He has acted as priest, interceding for them with the Lord. Now he acts as judge, or king, in judging them. He is a type of the three-fold office of Christ, who is prophet, priest and king.

7:7-8 The Saints Under Attack

7 Now when the Philistines heard that the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the people of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 And the people of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines.”

While this great outdoor revival was taking place, the Philistines heard about it. They assumed the Israelites had massed for an attack, so they went up to fight. The Israelites were not prepared for battle and were afraid. They called out to Samuel to ask the Lord to save them. This is a great improvement from their previous actions. They are afraid, but they are calling out to the Lord for protection, not using the ark as a talisman.

7:9-11 The Lord Responds

9 So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. And Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. 10 As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the Lord thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were routed before Israel. 11 And the men of Israel went out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and struck them, as far as below Beth-car.

Samuel prayed for the protection of the Israelites. He offered a sacrifice to the Lord. He cried out to him. The Lord answered.

There is great drama here. The Philistines drew up to attack even while Samuel offered the burnt offering. The Lord thundered out a loud sound and threw them into confusion. They ran from Israel, and the Israelites went after them and struck them as they ran. It was their first victory of the Philistines in decades. You might remember that, in Hannah’s song in 1 Samuel 2:10, she said the Lord would thunder against his adversaries.

This is also similar to the book of Judges, where there was this continual cycle of rebellion or apostasy, oppression, repentance and deliverance.

7:12-14 Raising the Ebenezer

12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen [1] and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.” 13 So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. 14 The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.

To commemorate the victory, Samuel set up a stone as a monument. Ebenezer means stone of help. It was a monument to the help the Lord gave the Israelites.

This is where the words to the hymn “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing” by Robert Robinson come from, when it says in the second verse:

here I raise my Ebenezer,
hither by thy help I’m come.
And I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home”.

Not only did God give them the protection they asked for, he gave much more, bringing them dominance over the Philistines during the life of Samuel, even restoring cities and territory they had lost to them. They also had peace with the Amorites. When Israel lived in obedience to the covenant, God gave them peace and safety in the land.

7:15-17 Samuel the Judge

15 Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. 16 And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. 17 Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the Lord.

Samuel was a circuit rider, judging Israel in four different towns. We are not told what this judging was. But, it must have entailed preaching God’s word and reproving those who did not keep it. He also built an altar in the town in which he lived and offered sacrifices there to the Lord.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

John MacArthur on yoga.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


A friend at work found a picture of Castro celebrating with another communist leader at a big parade. Then, he noticed something really humorous. Castro and the other communist leader are riding in a Cadillac convertible! Isn't the Cadillac the ultimate symbol of American capitalism and supposed decadence?

I'll be, in private, Castro dances and sings to Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac".
Wade Burleson has a good report on the International Mission Board trustees meeting. It is interesting to see how much Southern Baptist Leaders are bothered by blogging. Even though Baptist polity calls for a congregational approach, and a democratic approach, Southern Baptist leaders have fallen prey to the attitude of most institutional bureaucrats: they are as interested in preserving power than they are in serving their consituents.

Most Baptist agencies and boards meet in secret and it is difficult to find out how and why they made their decisions. If you ask a trustee, they won't tell you anything. It is difficult for the average person to find any information. Actually, it is that way in many churches. The staff ususally presents a big item at the least attended meeting, then votes in the service or a big meeting with no discussion allowed.

Southern Bapstist pastors, who run the convention, would likely be shocked to find out that a huge percentage of Southern Baptists don't care a bit what these guys do in their meetings. This is not a good thing. It is a sign of distrust. That is why many of their pleas for money and support fall on deaf ears.

If convention leaders really want the rank and file to be invested in the convention activities, they will need to open up and allow people to see how and why they do what they do. If they don't, they can continue as they are doing until all the old folks that blindly follow them die off.

Then, the last one there can turn out the lights and go home by himself.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ann Althouse has posted pictures of Manhattan for today.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tom Ascol agrees with me on Olson's article and lack of belief in God's sovereignty.


Thursday, September 06, 2007


A published research study found that the modal range for total number of sexual partners of homosexuals was 101-500.

From 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent of homosexuals had between 501 and 1,000 partners.

From 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent of homosexuals had more than one thousand sexual partners.

Here is a great satirical post on San Francisco banning marriage.
Dr. Mohler has written a nice tribute to D. James Kennedy.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Roger Olson wrote an article called “Calvinist view of bridge collapse distorts God's character”. Dr. Olson is a professor of theology in George W. Truett Theological Seminary located at Baylor University. After reading this article, I know I won’t be going there.

Olson began his article with the question: “Where was God several weeks ago when the interstate bridge collapsed in Minneapolis?” He never answered that question, but the implied answer is “nowhere”. Olson does not believe God was involved, and, indeed, that God is limited and, therefore, cannot be involved.

The point of the article is that Olson disagrees with John Piper, Calvinism, Determinism and an all powerful God. That kind of God is not nice enough for him, so he rejects him. Olson writes:

"But wait. What about God's character? Is God, then, the author of evil? Most Calvinists don't want to say it. But logic seems to demand it. If God plans something and renders it certain, how is he not culpable for it? Here is where things get murky."

Well, what about God’s character? Olson does not say much about it. What does the Bible tell us? It tells us God does indeed use disasters, wars, the devil and evil people to accomplish his will. And, yes, that makes him responsible for it and most Calvinists would actually say that. Let’s review.

God created a beautiful angel named Lucifer, although he knew Lucifer would reject him and spend this age defying God, corrupting his creation and generally, yes, being evil. This evil would cause all kinds of heartache, suffering and problems for the human race. Yet, God created him anyway and gave him a certain amount of freedom to be evil and do evil things.

God created man and woman, knowing they would reject him and spend this age defying him, corrupting his creation and being evil, unless redeemed by the sacrifice of his son.

God sent Israel into slavery in Egypt for 400 years. He drowned a bunch of Egyptians in the sea. He opened the earth to swallow a bunch of Israelites. He told the Israelites to kill Achan and all his family. He destroyed the earth by a flood that killed lots of people. He, numerous times, had the Israelites oppressed by their enemies, killed by the thousands and tens of thousands and sent into captivity. He sent plagues and fire that killed his chosen people. He caused famines. He had Jerusalem and most of Israel destroyed by the Romans, including his own temple, and sent his people into the four corners of the earth. He has promised to bring all kinds of plagues and disasters on the earth at the end of this age, according to Revelation. At the very end, he will cast all who do not believe in him into a lake of burning fire.

Why did he do all this? It was usually judgment. So, part of his character is holiness that he will not suffer to be profaned, including righteous judgment on all those who do profane it. We know that he is just and righteous, because Scripture tells us so, so we know all his acts were just and righteous, and so was the fall of the bridge you are worried about. God declares that he does not change (Malachi 3:6), so why is it so hard for you to believe that the God who previously brought judgment on all kinds of people, including his chosen people, would do it again?

Olson also remarkably refrains from quoting or citing a single verse of scripture to back up his claims. For example, he says “the Bible expressly forbids doing evil for the sake of good.” Where does it say that? In fact, does Samuel not tell his brothers that what was done to him was intended by them as evil to harm him but God meant it (the evil) for good? (Genesis 50:20). This was a man who was stripped, put in a pit, sold into slavery and put in prison several times. God meant it to happen because he had a plan to take care of Jacob and his sons through Joseph. (Psalm 105:17)

Olson also says “What if God is in charge but not in control?” He means God could control things but chooses not to. That, my friend, is not Christianity, but Deism, the idea that God made us then sat back to see what happens. Besides, again, the Bible tells us God is in control. Daniel 4:17 says the Lord rules the kingdoms of men. Daniel 4:35 says he does according to his will. He works all things according to the counsel of his will according to Ephesians 1:11. He says not one sparrow falls to the ground apart from him (Matthew 10:29).

What about the book of Job? God allowed horrible things to happen to Job, accomplished by Lucifer, to show Job’s steadfastness and God’s glory. Who said God would only allow nice things to happen to any of us? It was certainly not Job. He said the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord. (Job 1:21).

Ultimately, you have to look at God’s own son. He caused horrible things to happen to him for our good. He was beaten, ridiculed, spat upon, whipped and crucified to death. How did that happen? Was God sitting up in heaven wringing his hands hoping it would not happen? No, he preordained it to happen and it did. Peter said “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God…” (Acts 2:23).

Olson really does see God as limited, rather than omnipotent. He says:

"And God says, "Pray because sometimes I can intervene to stop innocent suffering when people pray; that's one of my self-limitations. I don't want to do it all myself; I want your involvement and partnership in making this a better world." "

Does God really say “sometimes I can”, meaning sometimes, dude, my hands are tied and I’m not omnipotent, I’m impotent. Again, Olson cites no scripture for this proposition, and, indeed, there is none. The problem is, Olson does not like the God who clearly revealed himself in the Scriptures. The God of Scripture is uncomfortable for his Arminian and man-centered sensibilities. But, we are not given the privilege of redefining God. We cannot put Barbie clothes on God because he is not pretty enough for us. That is idolatry. We can have no other gods besides the God of scripture.

Olson says he cannot distinguish the “God of Calvinism” from the devil. This is an incredible insult to all who believe in God’s omnipotence, and to God himself. Olson sounds like the Pharisees attributing the miracles of Christ to the devil. The reason he cannot distinguish them is that he refuses to recognize that God is the one with the power. Satan can only act where God allows, as the book of Job teaches us. In addition 1 John 4:1 tells us the believer can test the spirits and ascertain what is from God.

Finally, Olson says “The God of Calvinism scares me”. He should. The God of the Bible should scare you. He tells you to be scared of him. If you would be scared of him, you would learn something. Proverbs 1:7 says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.

Christ has given us the wonderful opportunity to be at peace with God. Paul told us we, as sinners, were objects of God’s wrath. He has wrath because he does not tolerate sin. Wrath is an ugly, forceful word. Believers escape that wrath and experience his love. But, that does not change God’s character. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

And he is not limited.

Friday, August 31, 2007


I found this inteview interesting, partly because I'm reading Lawson's book.
You can read the whole interview here.

Here is the money quote:

Q. As you have traveled to many different countries, do you see, by and large, a embracing of the doctrines of grace in other parts of the world? Do you think America is the most resistant to the doctrines of grace? Why or why not?

A. As I travel to many different parts of the world, I, unfortunately, see an Arminian base where I go. Tragically, the church in America , I have found, is the most resistant to the doctrines of grace. I think that this is caused by a culture and church that is saturated with political correctness, individual autonomy, and financial prosperity, as well as spiritual apathy and theological superficiality. All these elements have a deadening effect upon understanding the truth and feed Arminianism, in one way or another. Sad to say, the church is just as man-centered in other parts of the globe as it is here. We, who believe in the sovereignty of God in salvation, remain islands of reformed thinking in the midst of oceans of semi-Pelagian doctrine.

Last Tuesday, as President Bush got off the helicopter in front of the White House, he was carrying a baby piglet under each arm.

The squared away Marine guard snapped to attention, saluted, and said, "Nice pigs, sir."

The President replied "Marine, these are not just pigs. These are authentic Arkansas Razorbacks. I got one for Senator Hillary Clinton and I got one for Speaker of The House Nancy Pelosi."

The squared away Marine again snapped to attention, saluted, and said, "Excellent trade, sir."

22 Ways To Be A Good Democrat

1. You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion on demand.

2. You have to believe that businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity.

3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than U.S. Nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Chinese and North Korean communists.

4. You have to believe that there was no art before Federal funding.

5. You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by cyclical documented changes in the earth's climate and more affected by soccer moms driving SUV's.

6. You have to believe that gender roles are artificial but being homosexual is natural.

7. You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding.

8. You have to believe that the same teacher who can't teach fourth graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.

9. You have to believe that hunters don't care about nature, but loony activists who have never been outside of San Francisco do.

10. You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.

11. You have to believe that Mel Gibson spent $25 million of his own money to make The Passion of the Christ for financial gain only.

12. You have to believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.

13. You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.

14. You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, and A.G. Bell.

15. You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not.

16. You have to believe that Hillary Clinton is normal and is a very nice person.

17. You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried is because the right people haven't been In charge.

18. You have to believe conservatives telling the truth belong in jail, but a liar and a sex offender belonged in the White House.

19. You have to believe that homosexual parades displaying drag, transvestites,and bestiality should be constitutionally protected, and manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal.

20. You have to believe that illegal Democratic Party funding by the Chinese Government is somehow in the best interest to the United States.

21. You have to believe that this message is a part of a vast, right wing conspiracy.

22. You have to believe that it's okay to give Federal workers off on Christmas Day but it's not okay to say 'Merry Christmas.'