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?