Friday, September 30, 2005


Over at Justin Taylor's blog, he has a link to an article by Doug Wilson entitle "Homers". While I definitely am leaning toward homeschooling my child one day(my wife willing), I understand that this is an issue that each set of parents must determine for themselves. I am becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the my way or the highway attitude of some when it comes to educating *other people's* children, regardless of which side of the fence you are on. So check out Mr. Wilson's article, and lets be free to disagree over an issue that is potentially becoming devisive to the church of Christ. As always, I rejoice in your comments.


Quote of the Day

From the Federalist Patriot Founder's daily quote:

"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can
any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is
preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant,
and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own
weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders."

-- Samuel Adams (letter to James Warren, 4 November 1775)

Reference: Our Sacred Honor, Bennett (261)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Roberts Confirmed

John Roberts has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the next Chief Justice of the United States. Check out how your senator voted. Here is the good news.

"If the Constitution says that the little guy should win, then the little guy's going to win in the court before me," Roberts told senators. "But if the Constitution says that the big guy should win, well then the big guy's going to win because my obligation is to the Constitution."

This is exactly what we need, a Judge who knows what a judge is supposed to do. Now the not so good news.

Over and over, he has assured lawmakers his rulings would be guided by his understanding of the facts of cases, the law and the Constitution, not by his personal views. "My faith and my religious beliefs do not play a role," said Roberts, who is Catholic.

Now I am not concerned that he is Catholic, this is a governmental post, not a religious one. Now I can take this two ways. One, he realizes that objectivity is needed in his job. I don't think this is bad. The other way I could take this is he believes in some faith/value, sacred/secular split in his belief system. This is surely possible. Overall I am happy about this selection and feel Judge Roberts will do a great job.

Concerning Roe vs. Wade, it should not matter the judge's personal or religious views about this decision. They should realize the U.S. Constitution does not provide the right to abortion and understand that murdering innocent unborn Americans is a brutal, barbaric "right" that must be stopped. Lets hope and pray our court starts heading that way.

Was expulsion necessary?

Earlier this week I chimed in a couple of times on a post over at World Magazine Blog. Check it out and let me know what you think should have been done.


In or out?

Dr. White has a great post today responding to some writings by Paul Owen. What interests me is Dr. White's use of Fred Malone's commentary on Romans 11 and how does one enter the new covenant. This is good stuff for those of you who want to better understand the Baptist position on baptism. Also the snippet from O. Palmer Roberton on Romans 11:26 about who is the Israel of God is good stuff.

Dunkeningly yours,

Monday, September 19, 2005

"Troubling Stats"

An article over at BPNews Highlights some statistics concerning Teen sexual promiscuity, specifically oral sex.

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)--“At 50 percent, we’re talking about a major social norm,” Claire Brindis said. “It’s part of kids’ lives.”

The professor of pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco was not talking about braces or cell phones; she was speaking about oral sex.

According to a report released Sept. 15 by the National Center for Health Statistics, slightly more than half of American teenagers ages 15 to 19 have engaged in oral sex. That number jumps to 70 percent for 18 and 19 year olds.

A report issued earlier this year, based on the same research gathered in 2002 and 2003, surprisingly showed that slightly more girls than boys have had intercourse before they turn 20. Also, the number of high school girls who have engaged in casual sexual encounters now equals boys.

Now, I'm not really sounding the alarms about something that is not new news. After all, I think there are those in our society who have been ringing these bells since I was a teen. (Yes, that amount of time is growing larger and larger). What this article made me think about was teenage dating. Where do we think all of this promiscuous activity is happening? Do we think it is happening while teens are hanging out with friends under parental or responsible adult supervision? Our youth group at my church has been discussing dating for the last few weeks. My view I think can be summed up pretty well in this summary of the book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" by Joshua Harris. Here is a snippet.

I Kissed Dating Goodbye is not just about sexual purity; it scrutinizes the whole course of friendship, courtship, romance, engagement, and marriage. In a chapter on what's wrong with the current approach, Harris argues that dating (1) leads to intimacy but not necessarily to commitment; (2) tends to skip the "friendship" stage of a relationship; (3) often mistakes a physical relationship for love; (4) often isolates a couple from other vital relationships; (5) in many cases, distracts young adults from their primary responsibility of preparing for the future; (6) can cause discontentment with God's gift of singleness; and (7) creates an artificial environment for evaluating another person's character.

First a brief description of dating. This would be spending major amounts of time alone for the sole purpose of pepetuating an emotional/romantic involvement. Now,I think at the very least Christians should be coninually looking at ways to protect our children from the influences of sin in the world, and in their own hearts. My question is, do you think dating at a young age (13-17) is teaching our children the Biblical principles of self-control, patience, and purity, or even fostering an enviroment condusive to these qualities? Just asking what you think.


Friday, September 16, 2005

ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda--a church that is reformed and always reforming.

So what happens when your church has it's doctrine down pat? (As if that ever happens) Here is what I call a good part 2 to Tom Ascol's earlier post about the church.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Good Idea

Joe Thorn over at Words of Grace Blog has a good post about improving your blog, and I think by improving he means more Christ-like. I agree with the person who made the first comment. I also have to continuously attitude check my posts and comments and have already failed. I started this blog out by wanting to keep a civil and humble tone, and that still is my goal. Gives me something to work for, to say the least.

Grace words to you,

The "local" Church

Any attempt to follow Christ outside a sincere, covenanted devotion to other believers in a church will inevitably result in something considerably less than a healthy Christian. At best it gives rise to spiritual eccentricity. At worst...well, I fear it often results in missing Jesus Christ altogether. God has so designed the Christian life that we need our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We need to be disciplined by living in a covenanted relationship with them. We need the encouragement that comes from fellowship and the correction that comes from conflict.

This quote is from a blog entry by Tom Ascol over at Founders Ministries Blog. As I recently studied through 1 Corinthians I was given an even greater appreciation and love for the local church. But I must admit that my affections for and actions toward my chuch body are not always consistent. I need work in this area, as well as all other areas that fall under the category of my obedience to Christ. So let me know what you think of the article.

Saved by Grace Alone,

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


To any of you who read this blog and I don't talk to you personally ( anyone out there???), just wanted you to know I am still around but not able to blog much. I have started taking some mandatory refresher classes related to my seasonal part-time second job that will last this month and I have started co-teaching Sunday School on the book of 1 John and I will start being the director of our Sparks club for AWANA on Sunday nights, so I am pretty busy right now. Not to mention my full time job and duties around the house (don't ask my wife right now about that last item). So I will try and not let the blog fall into disuse.

Toward that goal, for those of you who haven't heard the churches in the county that I live in have formed a disaster relief organization wherein Christians within our geographic locale can show their love for those who have been affected by disasters. The web site is Check it out.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Probe on Politics & Govt

Ok, here's the next article again, Politics and Religion by Kirby Anderson of Probe Ministries. This is a really good, fair article. I highly encourage you to read it. One of the things I like about Probe is the humble attitude in their writing style. Many who write on the internet, including myself, could learn valuable lessons from just the tone and civility of their communication.

From the article:

Part of the confusion stems from blurring the distinctions between law and human behavior. When a person says, "You can't legislate morality," he or she might mean simply that you can't make people good through legislation. In that instance, Christians can agree.

The law (whether biblical law or civil law) does not by itself transform human behavior. The apostle Paul makes that clear in his epistle to the Romans. English jurists for the last few centuries have also agreed that the function of the law is not to make humans good but to control criminal behavior.

But if you understand the question in its normal formulation, then Christians can and should legislate morality. At the more basic level, law and public policy is an attempt to legislate morality. The more relevant question is not whether we should legislate morality but what kind of morality we should legislate.

I think this is where most people confuse the issue and blur distinctions between Christians "legislating morality", which is a good thing, and the church dropping their spiritual duty and focusing solely on "legislating morality", which is not her function. Nonetheless, I think all Christians do agree that "you can't make people good through legislation." That is why Scott Klusendorf writes what he does today over at his blog. This charge is baseless as far as I can see, and I can see no other description than as Mr. Klusendorf writes, a big scarecrow looking strawman.

Second, Christians should carefully develop biblical principles which can be applied to contemporary social and medical issues. Christians often jump immediately from biblical passages into political and social programs. They wrongly neglect the important intermediate step of applying biblical principles within a particular social and cultural situation.

In recent years, there has been a dangerous tendency for certain Christians to identify their message with a particular political party or philosophy of government. Christians must be more careful to articulate the connection between biblical principles and specific programs. While Christians may agree about the goal, they may reasonably disagree about which program might best achieve that goal. In these non-moral areas, a spirit of freedom may be necessary.

Excellent point. So as to not be misinterpreted, I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that Christians should not be so closely identified with a particular party or political movement. I want to do my part to encourage the spirit of freedom as needed in applying our Biblical worldviews to our societies here on earth.

Foundational to this idea is the belief that government should not be the final arbiter of truth. It should not be an institution that settles by force the truthfulness of an issue. This is why the framers of the Constitution specifically provided freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion. Government should not have power to impose its version of truth by force.

Christians should be strong supporters of this idea. We believe that God governs this world by His grace. His final judgment awaits, and we should not take His judgment into our hands. Overly anxious Christians often want to pull up the tares in the field instead of allowing the wheat and the tares to grow together.

Tyranny results when an authoritarian leader comes along who wants to impose his brand of truth on others. It is wrong for secularists to try to remove religion from the public sphere, and it is equally wrong for religious leaders to impose religion on others by force. In either case the political arena becomes a religious battleground.

Matthew 13
The Parable of the Weeds
24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

Biblical Principles
Christians should first develop a comprehensive program of social involvement. The Lordship of Jesus Christ is not a temporary, issue-oriented crusade. Christians are not merely to march against injustice and then cease their involvement. They have an on-going responsibility to build positive alternatives to existing evil.

Second, social and political involvement based upon biblical absolutes must be realistic. We should not fall prey to utopian political philosophies but squarely face the sinful nature of man and the important place government has in God's creation. Because of a general cynicism about the role of government, Christians are often guilty of neglecting their role in society.

As Christians we must remember that although the times are evil, God's common grace restrains sin. Even though perfect justice cannot be achieved until Christ returns, we are nevertheless responsible for doing what we can. If we co-labor with God, we can have a measure of success in achieving a better society.

Third, Christians should focus attention not only on individual change but on societal change. Changing lives is fundamental but not completely sufficient to change society. Revival must lead to reformation. Christians should not merely be content with Christians thinking biblically about the issues of life. They must also be acting biblically and building institutions with a Christian framework. A Christian world view implies a Christian world order.

Christian obedience goes beyond calling for spiritual renewal. We have often failed to ask the question, What do we do if hearts are not changed? Because government is ordained of God, we need to consider ways to legitimately use governmental power. Christians have a high stake in making sure government acts justly and makes decisions that provide maximum freedom for the furtherance of the gospel.

In situations in which governmental redress is not available, civil disobedience becomes an option. When such conditions exist, Christians might have to suffer the consequences as did their first-century counterparts in a hostile Roman culture.

We are to obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29) when civil government and civil law violate God's commands and law. Christians therefore were correct when they hid Jews from the Nazis during World War II. Hitler's Germany did not have the right to take innocent life or persecute the Jews.

Finally, the major focus of social involvement should be through the local church. Social action in the church is best called social service, since it attempts to move from the theoretical area of social ethics to the practical level of serving others in need. While evangelicals are to be commended for giving to the poor and others faced with adversity, our duty does not stop there. A much neglected area is personal involvement with people who need help.

The local church is the best place to begin to meet many social needs of a society. In the New Testament, the local church was the training ground for social involvement and provided a context by which the needy were shown compassion. Christians, therefore, should begin their outreach to society from the church and work together to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Neighborly love demands we share the gospel AND be involved with that "minister of God" that we call the government. We should not confuse the two, neither should we ignore either one. Working that out Biblically is the duty God has given each of His children.

Humbly Yours,

Monday, September 05, 2005

New Link (and more on Government)

I have added a new link today. That link is Probe Ministries. This is from their web site.

About Probe Ministries


Probe's mission is to present the Gospel to communities, nationally and internationally, by providing life-long opportunities to integrate faith and learning through balanced, biblically based scholarship, training people to love God by renewing their minds and equipping the Church to engage the world for Christ.

Ministry Outreaches

National and international youth and adult Mind Games Conferences attended by more than 10,000 participants since its inception.
Probe Radio Program, heard on over 400 stations daily, reaching 1 million people each week.
Probe staff members are interviewed regularly on national and international radio networks with listening audiences in the millions.
World Wide Web site resource with 1200+ articles and biblical perspective, including the ability to hear the Probe Radio program.
On-going research to address today's issues through honest and respected Christian scholarship.

Probe's History

Probe Ministries was founded in 1973 by James F. Williams Jr., who sought to form a ministry that would bridge the frontier between the agonizing questions man asks and the profound answers the Gospel offers. Beginning with the vision and no staff, Probe has grown today to form a working unit of 15 scholars and 10 support staff, along with the service of numerous volunteers. As the organization has served Christ faithfully for 32 years, Probe now stands ready to dramatically expand its ministry for Christ the next 32 years.

I can remember as a new Christian reading Probe Ministries and learning a great deal. I believe my friend Mark showed me this site, and for a while when we had questions about what some other internet ministry was saying, we would check Probe because early on we saw that their information seemed to be fair, balanced, and biblical. Kirby Anderson the National Director for Probe Ministries can be heard quite frequently on the Moody Broadcasting Network "Open Line" radio show, which I listen to occasionally on my way home from work.

Now that introductions are under way, I want to point you to a couple of articles on Probe that I think are informative. The first is titled "Christian View of Government and Law". I think this is a great introductory article that touches on why do we need government, and what is a biblcal view of government. Why does this matter? Well, for starters, the governmnent affects our daily lives, every single day. Shouldn't we as Christians have a biblical view of such a far reaching and ever visible part of our lives? And secondly, as Mr. Anderson points out, the government is established by God. Here's some good quotes.

Since civil government is necessary and divinely ordained by God (Rom. 13:1–7), it is ultimately under God’s control. It has been given three political responsibilities: the sword of justice (to punish criminals), the sword of order (to thwart rebellion), and the sword of war (to defend the state).

As citizens, Christians have been given a number of responsibilities. They are called to render service and obedience to the government (Matt. 22:21). Because it is a God-ordained institution, they are to submit to civil authority (1 Pet. 2:13–17) as they would to other institutions of God. As will be discussed later, Christians are not to give total and final allegiance to the secular state. Other God-ordained institutions exist in society alongside the state. Christians’ final allegiance must be to God. They are to obey civil authorities (Rom.13:5) in order to avoid anarchy and chaos, but there may be times when they may be forced to disobey (Acts 5:29).

Because government is a divinely ordained institution, Christians have a responsibility to work within governmental structures to bring about change. Government is part of the order of creation and a minister of God (Rom. 13:4). Christians are to obey governmental authorities (Rom. 13:1–4, 1 Peter 2:13-14). Christians are also to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt. 5:13–16) in the midst of the political context.

Although governments may be guilty of injustice, Christians should not stop working for justice or cease to be concerned about human rights. We do not give up on marriage as an institution simply because there are so many divorces, and we do not give up on the church because of many internal problems. Each God-ordained institution manifests human sinfulness and disobedience. Our responsibility as Christians is to call political leaders back to this God-ordained task. Government is a legitimate sphere of Christian service, and so we should not look to government only when our rights are being abused. We are to be concerned with social justice and should see governmental action as a legitimate instrument to achieve just ends.

AMEN! Next quote.

As Christians, we recognize that God has ordained other institutions besides civil government which exercise authority in their particular sphere of influence. This is in contrast to other political systems that see the state as the sovereign agent over human affairs, exercising sovereignty over every other human institution. A Christian view is different.

The first institution is the church (Heb. 12:18–24; 1 Pet. 2:9–10). Jesus taught that the government should work in harmony with the church and should recognize its sovereignty in spiritual matters (Matt. 22:21).

The second institution is the family (Eph. 5:22–32, 1 Pet. 3:1–7). The family is an institution under God and His authority (Gen.1:26–28, 2:20–25). When the family breaks down, the government often has to step in to protect the rights of the wife (in cases of wife abuse) or children (in cases of child abuse or adoption). The biblical emphasis, however, is not so much on rights as it is on responsibilities and mutual submission (Eph. 5:21).

A third institution is education. Children are not the wards of the state, but belong to God (Ps. 127:3) and are given to parents as a gift from God. Parents are to teach their children (Deut. 4:9) and may also entrust them to tutors (Gal. 4:2).

In a humanistic system of government, the institutions of church and family are usually subordinated to the state. In an atheistic system, ultimately the state becomes a substitute god and is given additional power to adjudicate disputes and bring order to a society. Since institutions exist by permission of the state, there is always the possibility that a new social contract will allow government to intervene in the areas of church and family.

A Christian view of government recognizes the sovereignty of these spheres. Governmental intervention into the spheres of church and family is necessary in certain cases where there is threat to life, liberty, or property. Otherwise civil government should recognize the sovereignty of other God-ordained institutions.

Now, I'm not sure that I totally agree with Mr. Anderson (this is starting to sound like the Matrix...:) about the state stepping in to adopt children in cases of child abuse, but this section does speak to the sphere sovereignty or sphere influence. In other words, God has established institutions for the good of mankind in earthly matters, i.e. government and family, in addition to the church. The church's sphere of responsibility is primarily but not totally spiritual, while the other institutions are primarily physical but not totally physical.

The next article is "Politics and Religion". I'll have to comment on that one in my next post. See you then.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Laborers In The Vineyard

Matthew 20:1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ 5 So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ [2] 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”

My pastor has been preaching through the Kingdom parables in Matthew for several weeks and todays sermon was part 3 of his expositions on the above parable. I took some notes and wanted to pass on the main points of application from this pride crushing and humbling teaching of God's love and God's sovereignty. Here they are:

1. God sovereignly initiates and accomplishes salvation.
2. God alone establishes the terms of salvation, i.e., salvation is a gift of God's grace. On a side note, doesn't God establish the terms of all the ways that we deal with him, including worship, prayer, etc.?
3. God continues to call men into His Kingdom.
4. God redeems everyone who sees their need.
5. God is compassionate to everyone who realizes their hopelessness.
6. All who come into the vineyard work. Ouch!
7. God has the ability to keep His promises.
8. God always gives what He promises.
9. Humility is the only right attitude by which we come to the Lord.
10. God's grace extends to the lowest among us.

I thought these were some great points that emphasize God's imperative as the Potter to do with the clay as he sees fit. If you're interested in hearing this sermon and/or parts 1 and 2 you can listen to them here.

Working in the Vineyard,

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