Monday, April 7, 2014

Living - And Then Marrying - In The Real World

 Updated 4/10/14

A recent  Ref 21  post by Prof. Carl Trueman compares the World Vision flip flop on homosexual "marriage" and the firing of the  Mozilla CEO because he donated to Cqlifornia's Prop 8 in 2008 which supported  traditional  marriage. His conclusion is that the sword of economic boycott works both ways and Christians shouldn't complain, but realize that's how the cookie crumbles in the real world. (World Vision reminds us  of Zondervan and their  gender neutral NIV. Public outcry put the last on hold, but Z had its way in the end. Any guesses on how long WV holds the line?) Besides evangelical doesn't really mean evangelical when it comes to evangelical para church organizations  or  businesses. So now we know.

Hold the phone, Leon. This Just In.  Due to the moral leprosy that literally oozes from pores  of ex Mozilla CEO and inventor of javascript  B. Eich, the usual raft of amoral refugees, self righteous homophiles  and homosexualist twits  will be announcing their boycott of javascript real soon now on twitter. Along  with their boycott of the internet, because the internet  uses javascript indiscriminately and won't quit anytime soon. Uh, huh. Stay tuned. More late breaking fairy tales to come.

The Stacked Deck
There are a couple of objections. One, there is not a level playing field out there. The main stream moron media, the courts, the schools  and the other elite powers that be, are all pushing for marital rights for sodomites and lesbians despite the fact that  the LGBTQ@#%?  whatever  contingent  in society is a marked minority. The Kinsey Report notwithstanding (Judith  Riesmann among others,  dismantled  that fraud and egregious propaganda long ago), at most we are talking about  1 to 3 percent of the population.  (Even 5 percent would be hopelessly  optimistic in our opinion, but in la la land, one never knows what the  progressives will dream up next.)

The Big Lie
Two, the campaign for  "equal rights/protection" is a lie. While it  purports to be another way of saying everyone is equal before the  law, all it really is  about is the French Jacobin notion of  egalite, i.e. the egalitarian  perversion of equal opportunity to mean "equal outcome" or "equal results". And since both male and female homosexual liaisons don't measure up to  the historic definition  of marriage, ergo  we need to do some meddling, preferably by  the coercive power  of the state, so that everybody can get "married"  and live happily ever after. See. Wasn't that easy, boys and girls?

After all, it is not just the  pursuit  of happiness that is constitutionally guaranteed, but the attainment of happiness. Which is to say government guarantees, if not supplies an education, a job, healthcare and a marriage. If not  also children, if homosexuals are allowed to adopt. (I  know.  It's not loving to forbid homosexuals to love children. Therefore they must be allowed to adopt them.)

Fundamental Reality, Not Fundamentalism
But  the  big objection in our opinion, is number three. This does not have to be a religious  or Christian issue  per se. While it is true that marriage between Adam and Eve -  not Adam and Steve -  was first instituted by God   in the Garden before the fall, so too the one in  seven day of rest is equally a mandate of the moral/natural law. Which means evangelicals   cannot really consistently violate one creation ordinance, even as they  complain about the  perversion of the  other. Still, it's  called  common sense. From time immemorial the union of a man and woman  has produced children which the  same couple by  and large with yes, help from other family members and the community  at  large,   raise to adulthood. Yes, there have been and  are exceptions to the rule, but when by the  same token have homosexual relationships ever  been raised to the status of marriage, even granting that homosexuality has been  around since time immemorial?

In other words, where  for all practical purposes do these knuckleheads think children come from? The dry cleaners? And who raises them? After  their three square  meals a day at the local daycare cum public government school and a trip to the Boys and Girls Club, we sit the young'uns down in front  of the HiDef TV section at Walmart open 24 hours a day to be further edumacated/entertained before they drift  off to sleep sucking  their thumbs? When all is said  and done, it still comes down to  a man  and a woman, regardless if  the same sexers resort to artificial insemination, surrogacy or adoption to provide children for  their categorically sterile unions. While it  is true, not all marriages produce children,  what is  the exception for traditional marriage, is the rule for  the sodomites and lesbians.

Luv, Luv, Luv
Further, the dessicated,  if not degenerate definition of marriage now current, is all about "love", if not emotion. We readily  grant  that charity, which is what the hoary  old King James Bible calls love, plays a distinct part in your average marriage, but really. To make it all boil down to affection or love, is to regress to an infantile narcissism. What's next? Will people  in the future be able to marry their suitcases? Their toasters? How about their bicycles? And if not, why not?

The  Other Big Lie (No, Not  Obamacare)
Or better  yet their offspring, siblings or parents? And if not the latter threesome,  again why not? As Joe Sobran would have it, channeling a  raucous Juvenal, at least the heterosexual  versions of  these pairings got the  poop chute figured out. Not to mention, so much for that  other Big Lie;  that heterosexuals  get  to marry "anybody they want to"/whomever they love. All the while incest, polygamy and group marriages are verboten. Which fact is conveniently ignored by the homosexualists. Because it contradicts the approved fairytale narrative  about "discrimination".

The Building Blocks of Society
The family is the first school, church, business and state.  If things go gunnybag in the  family, everybody else  in  society is playing catch up to fix it. (In  other words,  we interrupt the regularly scheduled dreck to announce  that the family has been around a  lot longer than the humanitarian hunger and  poverty fighting World Vision and it has done a better job to  boot.) Which means the whole pogrom about marriage equality is really about anything but. In  our day,  all  it actually does is further the growth of the totalitarian state. That is because when all is said and done, only the civil magistrate has  coercive power; the power  to physically compel people to do something - as in fine,  imprison or execute. As opposed to just firing, flunking, excommunicating or just avoiding someone in any other sphere of society. In  this case it is the coercive power that has been perverted in order to compel equal outcomes/results, if not the equal attainment of happiness, i.e. healthcare and marriage for  everyone. Because they are all "equally protected" by law.  Or so the non sequitur argument goes.

Equal Time For Reality?
But more than that, in reality the whole  "marriage equality" schtick really is nothing more  than an assault on reality. One might as well argue for equal protection for square circles or unicycles must be permitted to have two wheels.  In other words, this is not about discrimination - even that of discernment - rather this is all about distortion of reality, if  not history. What supercilious stupidities and audacious inanities will we be subjected to next? Will our stormtroopers for the brave new world order have something to say about gravity? That it  is not fair that what goes up, must come down? Or will we be  told on the  pains of a bankrupting lawsuit and threat of jail something a little more mundane? That pigs can fly and not just first class  on SouthWest, but solo in the pilot's seat?

Sexual nirvana and same sex utopia  awaits breathlessly. Boo reality. Hiss discrimination. Welcome stupidity and death.  Along with, in the mean time, more big government to speed up the process. Sounds like fun.  Only bigots, haters and homophiles homophobes could object.

Perverts? Nah, that category is just  a figment  of your imagination.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Crooked Arrows and Analogies

All The While Spray Painting Targets  And Snipe-hunting For Protestant Fish In a Roman Barrel Full of Cloistered Monkeys

[corrected  2/4/14]
Well, the  combox zeitgeist over at Old Life Theological Society for Callers Cognitive Dissonance seems to have moved on to discussing the quality of home made vs. Safeway pastry. Still  it does provoke us to quietly weep a few crocodile tears for the eminent first commenter (as always) and his denial (as always)  on these kinds of posts at OLTS. 

Particularly since the same interlocutor has just given us "Clark, Frame, and the Analogy of Painting a Magisterial Target Around One’s Interpretive Arrow " in which he attempts to frame confessionalist RS Clark in his own words, of committing the same crime as Clark accuses biblicist John Frame to be guilty of: Setting oneself up as the interpretive authority over Scripture. 
As in do tell, William Tell.

The gentleman goes on at length – thankfully not quite as eye glazing as usual – in appealing to the Prot reader's private judgement in order to demonstrate the solipsism of that same private judgement and the subsequent necessity of privately judging that the sacred magisterial authority of the pope alone can break the solipsistic stranglehold. Circular pleading indeed, if not sophistical solipsistical.

Oblio's Obligatory Obfuscation/Inexcusable Ignorance
As for  Harry Nilsson, where is he  when we need him? You know, the singer  of the song  about "Me and my Arrow, taking the high road". Of integrity, honesty, credibility, stuff like that. Of correctly characterizing the Prot Roman paradigm if you are going to critique the Prot  Roman paradigm? (But  Protestants  paradigmatically eschew  paradigms/the Holy Father hasn't given them one, so no worries?)

As in the reformed confessions never claim to be above correction from Scripture, contra our protagonist's assumption/accusation. In short the whole "norma normans, norma normata" paradigm. The  Scripture is the infallible rule that rules; the norm that norms all other norms, while the creeds are rules that are normed/ruled by Scripture. And this Mr. Cross, as someone with an M.Div from Covenant Theological Seminary, (PCA) an ex-P&R churchman* ought to know. But doesn't. Or at least won't admit for all practical public purposes of his popish propaganda.

Just as he ought to have known that the Mormon claim to Joseph Smith's apostolic addition to Scripture in the Book of Mormon was contra Scripture as WCF Chapt.1 "Of Holy Scripture" confesses. And answered accordingly when the Utah missionaries knocked on his door. Instead, this incident supposedly precipitated his capitulation to Rome's claim to apostolicity  in order to resolve the existential torment, if not ecclesiastical angst that resulted from the encounter with the disciples of the  Mormon Apostles.

Apostolic Doctrine, Succession and Anarchy
But maybe from the paradigm  perspective of the romanist  in the ditch on the side of the road,  everybody else really does appear to be in the ditch on the other side of the road, Plato's cave notwithstanding.  Yet the reformed argue the middle of the road for  themselves,  all the while the anabaptist biblicists  are content to muddle around in the one ditch. As the papists do in the other, honestly, naively and solipsistically as they might in fact be.

The reformed again, at least have a case for their apostolic succession of doctrine, while romanists emphasize apostolic succession for their bishop and lump all who disagree into the camp of the anabaptists, who  only claim to read the holy Book by the light that comes in the crack in their own individualistic roof, the Scriptures having  just dropped out of the sky and down their chimney a half hour ago.

As for the standard charge of question begging from our accuser, to anyone who dissents from his version of the status questionis, what's with the implicit charge of solipsism? Doesn't that cancel out the power of one's private judgement to make an informed decision that the pope's solipsism sacred sacramental authority  is more sophistical scriptural superstitious sacred than me or thee's? But again the reformed aren't anarchic individualistic anabaptists. 

The Reformation and the Renaissance were in part the  fruit of the revolutionary technology of the moveable type of Gutenberg's press and the fall of Constantinople  which brought both manuscripts of the Greek New Testament and the early church fathers west, along with scholars who could read them, which produced critical editions and translations of Scripture and the fathers. And contra the Roman narrative, the reformed can and have demonstrated a reasonable claim on the fathers for their doctrine. 

A Multitude of Counselors
H.O.Olds might have his disagreement with the Second Commandment and the Regulative Principle of Worship, i.e."whatsoever is not commanded, explicitly or implictly in Scripture, is forbidden in the worship of God", but as he says in his Worship That is Reformed According to Scripture , the "reason the Reformers studied the Church fathers" was because "They are witnesses to the authority of Scripture. The Reformers studied the patristic commentaries on Scripture because it enriched their own understanding of Scripture (2002, p.4)". Likewise, he goes into more depth in his Patristic Roots of Reformed Worship. The Reformation was primarily " a return to the Scriptures, but  the writings of the Fathers were read as witnesses to the purer forms of worship of the ancient church (1975, p.1)". 

Warfield's comment is well known: "(T)he Reformation inwardly considered, was just the ultimate triumph of Augustine's doctrine of grace over Augustine's doctrine of the Church" (Calvin and Augustine, 1971, p.322). Or as the Proverbs has it, "In the multitude of counselors, there is safety (11:14, 15:22, 24:6)". The official Roman Church's pronouncement of anathema on the Reformation doctrines of Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide did not come until the Council of Trent 1545-1563. Till then Rome truly was a big tent, (as it is today and promises even more so to become with the latest occupant of the Petrine throne.)

After all, Luther had acknowledged that his teachers Arnoldi, Trutvetter and von Staupitz had first pointed him to Scripture and helped him clarify the true biblical meaning of repentance in the sense of metanoia or 'an about face turning from sin' contra the prevailing understanding of "doing penance". And all of his teachers were Roman clergy in good standing with the church.

But of all this, not a solipsistic whisper of refutation from our ex-prot Roman apologist. Rome says it, I believe it, Scripture, reason or history to the contrary. In other words, this is fideism of the most raw and rank variety. Implicitly ignorant fideism.

Holy Hegelianism
Regardless of Rome's prejudiced appeal to history/tradition, for those of us who don't quite get or buy into the dialectical doublecross -  that Scripture can never interpret itself and that we can never know what Scripture truly says apart from the Holy Spirit  the  sacramental magisterial authority of little papa's sacred chrismata  -  implicita fides - implicit faith, i.e. ignorant fideism,  fundamental pillar of Romanism that it is, is the sop thrown to your conscience in order to further  beat it into submission. If you haven't reached that stage upon the end of Mr. Cross's chain of non sequiturs and misrepresentations, regardless that he does not call attention to ignotus fide or admit it in any way in  his zeal to defeat the protestant alternative of Sola Scriptura. The sufficient  and  perspicuous Scriptures are the only infallible rule for faith and life.

And this from a papist apologist who has told us elsewhere that:
Of course an inquirer who is considering the Catholic paradigm as a whole will consider how the Catholic paradigm (which includes these five doctrines) makes sense of all the available historical, biblical, patristic, and philosophical data, in relation to the other available paradigms.
Yet perhaps there really are no other available paradigms, aside from the anabaptist straw man masquerading as the Presbyterian and Reformed paradigm of Sola Scriptura contra the Sola Solipsism parody that Mr. Cross and the Called to Communion cadre continually parrot. 

But all  it all amounts to in the end is:
To the Pope.

End of Story.

Oblio's Obligatory Encore
Me and my Arrow
Straighter than narrow
Where ever we go
Everyone knows
It's me and my Arrow

Evidently for those only capable of licensed with a papal imprimatur to hunt snipe, one's own cognitive dissonance is not on the religious  radar screen.

IOW Mr. Cross went a hunting for a target and a target he did find. 

The only one his crooked arrow would allow him to shoot in that by definition, the sacred sacramental magisterial authority of the pope is ineffable, indefectable, infallible and unreformable. But for all practical purposes, he can only "claim" (otherwise known as Mr. Cross's inevitable rejoinder of "handwaving assertion") that protestant confessionalism is contradictory because inescapably it lords it over Scripture. Fine. But then he needs to make his case rather than resort to misrepresentation, assertions and accusations of the same to carry his argument. 

Scripture Interprets Scripture According To Scripture
The dogfood version of a pig's breakfast that he serves up regarding solipsistic private judgement, which curiously enough, can only escape itself long enough to perceive the pope's perspicuous sufficiency and authority - but never Scripture's - all the while that he fails to mention that implicit faith/ignorant  fideism is fundamental to and goes hand in hand with submission to the sacred magisterium's papal judgement is,  at bottom,  no more than a dog returning to its vomit. Have at it, Rin Tin Tin.

All this again,  contra the countless examples in the Old Testament, never mind that of Christ and the apostles in the New, or even the solitary example of the Bereans Act 17:11,  of: "it is written". As in the constant refrain and  the repeated appeal  in Scripture . . . . to Scripture. Not "it is written in Tradition". Not "it is written by the Magisterium". Not "it is written in the ex cathedra Papal Bull". Rather "it is written" is written  in -   of all places -  Scripture and it refers to -  of all things -   Scripture, i.e. the written  word of God.

Of all this, Mr. Cross writes not,  though somebody like the apostle Paul does. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul has the audacity to say that Timothy "from a child (brephos) has known the Scripture which enabled him to become wise unto salvation in Christ Jesus (3:15)". Of our roman interlocutor's schtick, that Scripture is unknowable, if not uninterpretable, apart from the sacramental magisterial authority of the Roman bishop, Paul knows and says nothing. But then again, perhaps our Romanist philosophy professor has never been a child and has always been a grown up adult that  wears a purple biretta beret and all this has escaped him. Like the con man Papillon's  fraudulent  escape from Devil's Island?

But not to put too fine a point on it, if the Word of God had not come in the flesh and spoken to us in the Word of God written, we would have had no sin, but now cognitive dissonance is no cloak for our contradictions (cf. Jn. 15:22). Better yet,  Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. Jn. 9:41

Assumptions, Presumptions and Accusations vs. Proof
But if as Mr. Cross tells us elsewhere, "The accuser has the burden of proof", then Mr. Cross assumes what he needs to prove:

One, that the reformed confessions are  not in  submission  to Scripture, but lord it over Scripture contra what they explicitly declare; that they are  unreformable not only  in principle, but in  practice.

Two, Scripture never ever clearly interprets or expressly appeals to itself over and above other authorities, magisterial or no. IOW “it is written” cannot be found within the apostolic deposit of canonical Scripture nor does it refer to the same.

Three, solipsistic private protestant judgement, if  it is even  capable of understanding his (infallible?) argument for the  infallible sacred sacramental magisterial authority of the pope,  is just as equally incapable of understanding Scripture.

In other words, Mr. Cross needs to come clean about his magisterial witch hunt with a crooked arrow  if he really expects to be taken for anything but a sophist for the papal cause;  which is to say,  a liar for an ecclesiastical regime, which is itself built  on lies about Scripture, reason or history (aka tradition). Till then he gets to  play bow and arrows all by himself as  by all rights he should. But only if his mother, Rome does not come and take his sharp toys away from him  for fear  he'll  hurt himself.
*Correction: with apologies for the mistake. See here for an  overview of Cross's background.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

FWIW Department: Scripture vs. the Shroud of Turin

Over at Triablogue regarding Is It Sinful To Produce Or Want Evidence Like The Shroud Of Turin? the same thing  John Bugay  was complaining about regarding the CtC site happened – at  TB.
As below, we couldn’t even get a “Your comment is awaiting moderation”.
Guess we don’t rate like John.
Oh well.
The discussion was going along swimmingly and then blip.
Out like a light.
There are any number of problems with the post but the chief one is the one that closes the "awaiting moderation" comment  below. 
(T)he argument from John 20:29 is:

Blessed are all those who have believed the evidence written in Scripture and believed in Christ.
But the Shroud of Turin is not one of the evidences written in Scripture.
∴ Those who believe in it are not blessed.

Another passage of Scripture and a new argument is needed to prove that the Shroud of Turin is a good thing.
 The full comment replying to the italicized reads:
steve2/07/2013 1:38 AM

"Don’t know CM’s work or beliefs. Warfield didn’t think there were any if I understand the gist of him on Perfectionism. In light of the purpose of miracles in Act 2:22, Heb. 2:4 I am inclined to say no."

So, for instance, you don't think God ever heals anyone in answer to prayer.

Distinguish. Can God work through, beside or without means such as prayer and medicine? Yes, but in that Scripture is sufficient for our faith his economy is not miraculous like it was in the past I believe is the standard reformed answer.

"See above. What kind of evidence. Fallible or infallible?"

So you're admitting that your appeal to Lk 16:31 is qualified. Some people believe when they witnessed the Resurrection.

Distinguish. Are we in the same position as the apostles where we could witness the evidence for, much more Christ risen in the flesh?

"Paul’s conversion as an apostle was miraculous. Can/will it happen again. (Mohammed?Joesph Smith?)"

Do you agree with the Westminster Confession that the Pope is the Antichrist (a la Mt 23, 2 Thes 2, Rev 13)?

Yes, but one the beast in Revelation performs false miracles. Two do you want to argue that the two witnesses are to be interpreted literally as what along with their miracles? Further is not the resurrection of sinners dead in their tresspasses a miracle?

Because we are not archaelogists, but Christians. We require infallible proof...IOW by this time more and more TB looks to be promoting lutheranism and evidentialism."

Perhaps you can identify the author of the following statement:

"We determine what books have a place in this canon or divine rule by an examination of the evidences which show that each of them, severally, was written by the inspired prophet or apostle whose name it bears; or, as in the case of the Gospels of Mark and Luke, written under the superintendence and published by the authority of an apostle. This evidence in the case of the Sacred Scriptures is of the same kind of historical and critical proof as is relied upon by all literary men to establish the genuineness and authenticity of any other ancient writings, such as the Odes of Horace or the works of Herodotus. In general this evidence is (a) Internal, such as language, style, and the character of the matter they contain; (b) External, such as the testimony of contemporaneous writers, the universal consent of contemporary readers, and corroborating history drawn from independent credible sources."

Wrong question. What does the WCF1:4,5 ultimately say about why men believe Scripture?
Notwithstanding the previous arguments and evidences, “our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.”
Can we say that about the Shroud of Turin?

Jason Engwer2/07/2013 5:34 AM

"Paul’s conversion as an apostle was miraculous…. Could they be mistaken?... Acts while canonical describes what was going on before the canon was closed. And dreams as one of the 'diverse manners' God has previously chosen to reveal himself have ceased (WCF1:1)."

You give us no reason to apply Luke 16 beyond the people Jesus is addressing in that passage. Instead, you assume without argument that Jesus is addressing all unbelievers.

Then, when Paul's conversion contradicts your reading of Luke 16, you dismiss his conversion as "miraculous". How does the miraculous nature of his conversion resolve the problem it poses for your reading of Luke 16? All conversions are miraculous. And some of those miraculous conversions are brought about by means of encountering the risen Jesus or evidence for his resurrection.

Distinguish. God makes the rules and he can set them aside.What infallible evidence do we have today for his resurrection found or recorded  outside of Scripture?

You then dismiss all post-Biblical converts who cite evidence for Jesus' resurrection as a factor in their conversion. You ask, "Could they be mistaken?" Asking that question doesn't give us reason to think it's probable that they're all mistaken. And we don't assume that people are mistaken about their conversions as our default position. If you want us to think they were mistaken, you need to provide some reason for reaching that conclusion. People aren't normally dishonest or experiencing a memory lapse, for example, so we don't begin with an assumption that people are probably wrong about what they're saying regarding a subject they're in a good position to judge. So far, in order to preserve your speculative reading of Luke 16, you not only have to dismiss Paul's conversion, but also the claims of many post-Biblical converts.

Is your or my testimony on anything, never mind our conversion equal with Scripture? To ask is to answer the objection.

Then you dismiss Cornelius' conversion by citing the Westminster Confession and making a comment about the canon and dreams. Why is it that we should avoid spending time and other resources on an extra-Biblical source like the Shroud, because it's extra-Biblical, yet it's acceptable for you to study and cite extra-Biblical sources like the Westminster Confession? And how does citing the Westminster Confession reconcile Cornelius' conversion with your reading of Luke 16?

WCF1:6 Not only Scripture,  but the good and necessary consequences of Scripture are Scripture.
Thus Jesus with the Sadducees regarding  the woman with 7 husbands. He appeals not to his own authority, which they don’t accept, but to Scripture which they do, much more an implication of Scripture and chides for their unbelief.

Cornelius lived before the close of canon when extrabiblical signs and wonders were part of the economy. With the death of the apostles and the close of canon, as per WCF1:1  Scripture replaced the former unwritten evidences/revelations.

"What are those contexts?"

I've already explained, many times. Similarly, a hymn, a book, or an archeological artifact wouldn't have to convert people in order to be useful in some manner.

True, but the argument from John 20:29 is:

Blessed are all those who have believed the evidence written in Scripture and believed in Christ.
But the Shroud of Turin  is not one of the evidences written in Scripture.
∴ Those who believe in it are not blessed.

Another passage of Scripture and a new argument is needed to prove your point.

thank you,


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

An Open Letter to Andy Williams – Or Just Say No to Noël

[updated 12/23/12]

One was more than a little disappointed to read the current Ref21 website headline article, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Mr. Hays, (which  has since been superseded by an article on the Newton school shooting. Digging around even further, we did find two excellent articles by Roy Blackwood, Reforming Your Bible Study and The Exercise.)

While it is well enough written as far as it goes, it evades the real question regarding the celebration of Christmas among evangelically confessional churches, at least the presbyterian. IOW “invidious associations” of paganism, popery or partying upon  the holiday are not of the essence of a principled concern or objection from Scripture.

Rather  the P&R churches, contra the Lutheran or  Anglican, understand the good and necessary consequences of the Second Commandment to be that ‘whatsoever is not commanded – explicitly or implicitly in Scripture – is forbidden in the worship of God’. In other words, what is called the Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW). Thus the Larger, Shorter and Heidelberg Catechisms on the Second Commandment and the Westminster Confession Chapt. 21 On Religious Worship, if not also the Belgic Confession Art. 32 Of the Order and Discipline of the Church.

Consequently  as the Appendix to the Westminster Assembly’s Directory of Worship states, “Festival days, vulgarly called Holy-days, having no warrant in the word of God, are not to be continued”. “No warrant” as in “uncommanded”.  And if uncommanded, forbidden.

Again, while we are commanded in Scripture to observe Christ’s resurrection  once a week, not once a year at Easter – that is after all the reason for the switch from the seventh  to the first day when it comes to the 4th commandment – and his death  in the Lord’s Supper, we are never commanded to observe or celebrate his birth whatever the associations it might have for us,  sentimentally or culturally notwithstanding.

Granted the continental reformed churches have not been as consistent or agreed with the presbyterian on the point. Early on – arguably, if not largely due to the civil magistrate’s sponsorship of the traditional feast days according to Van Dellen and Monsma’s Commentary on the Church Order  – the same Order called for the congregations to religiously improve those days, though previously the churches had set them aside.

Yet it must also be recognized that the 1566 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland only took exception to the Second Helvetic Confession in a letter to Beza when it came to observing the “festival of our Lord’s nativity, circumcision,  passion, resurrection, ascension and sending  the Holy Ghost upon his disciples” in the 24th chapter. Why? “(F)or we dare not religiously celebrate any other feast day than what the divine oracles have prescribed”. The Word does not command it. Or the RPW if you will.

 In the next century, Geo. Gillespie was a well known Scotch representative at the Westminster Assembly (1643-49), in part due to his previous Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies (1637). This is the classic presbyterian work on worship that skewers  the largely Anglican arguments  for not only  the indifference of  feast days such as Christmas, but also their lawfulness, expedience and necessity.  Needless to say,  Gillespie’s  conclusion is that all four arguments fall short of carrying the day.

For that matter, William Ames was an Nonconformist minster who fled persecution in England for Holland, only to serve as an advisor to the Moderator of the famous Synod of Dordt (1618) and later as a theological professor at Franeker. [His Marrow of Theology was very popular in America and though he died before moving there, his widow, children and library made the voyage after his death to New England.] He quotes an early church father Hospinian in his Fresh Suit Against Human Ceremonies in God’s Worship (1633) to the effect that “Not the day, but the Word of God, etc. puts us in mind of the nativity, resurrection and ascension of Christ”.

 In light of all this, one might hope for some clarification on the issue from the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.  Again, invidious associations with paganism are the least of the classic confessional objections to the “most wonderful time of the year”.

And that with all due reverence and respect to the memory of that most noted, revered and eminent minstrel of good cheer  and singer of theological songs, one Andy Williams.
Thank you very much,

[See also here, for a "Christmas Day" sermon by Calvin.]

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Problem with Propaganda/Rap

Propaganda's  rap/song is  still making the rounds, as well as waves  these days with  heavyweights like Joel Beeke and Thabiti Anyabwile weighing in either on it or Jonathan Edwards's defense of a fellow slave holding minister. Props considers the Puritans to be hypocrites on slavery and is critical of the modern reformed love for them. Yet the problem with propaganda is just that . . .  it's propaganda.

This Just In
But what else is new? If  the essence of propaganda or a half truth is that it contains enough of the truth to convince somebody that it is the whole truth, then good enough buddy, let's go for it. So, lemme see, before we found out that The some Puritans puritans  approved of slavery, if not owned slaves, we learned the same things regarding the Puritans and Ye Burning of Ye Olde Witches. Or Calvin executing  Servetus. With his bare hands no less. (I think the Big P's reference to 'slave ship chaplains' had something maybe to do with John Newton, who was a captain,  not a chaplain, that  eventually repudiated the slave trade.) The point being in all of this, is that  slavery was endemic to the times, just like witch hunting and the civil execution of heretics.

The corresponding and salient distinction lost in all the noise is that while Christians engaged in what are now reprobated activities - and properly so -  Puritanism/Christianity is also  pretty much what got rid of them. Which somehow got left out of the song, due to poetic license, no doubt.  Or is that the license of  propaganda?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall, Who’s the Biggest Racist of Them All?

Not Ron Paul (unless Voddie Baucham don't have  clue) or even  the Newt Gingrich in the recent Repuglican debate. Rather we know that those who criticize Paul for not reading his 20 year old  newsletters, can't be anybody -- mainstream media or member of Congress -  involved with passing the Patriot Act, the TARP Bailout or ObamaCare, all of which  were "Too Big to Read". In other words, for one, we're talking major mainstream hypocrisy.

More Smoke and Mirrors
Two,  even if Paul or the Newt was the Great Grand Dragon of the Klu Klux Klan  and they're not, the dubious honor of being the biggest racist just might be reserved for the present occupant of the big white house on Pennsylvania Ave. who still hasn't got around to telling anybody what he was doing sitting for twenty years in what could be called the black version of KKK church.

Which  is to say, it just  goes to show how far education in the  government schools has been eroded if the lesson of Edgar Allen Poe's Purloined Letter doesn't cause some lights to go on for the media, which has generally been in the tank for the darling  incumbent,  who is incapable of doing any  wrong. That, while the same  media again has only been capable of smearing someone as a racist if they dare to question their golden boy, if not Goldman Sachs Candidate No.1 - as compared to  Goldman Sachs Candidate No. 2, Mitt "Obamalite" Romney. Which is perhaps why some refer to members of the mainstream  press by the vulgar term of press-titutes.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The State of the Union According to Tolkien

[Updated  2/11/11]  
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;
Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constitution

To summarize the recent State of the Union Address Jan. 25, 2011 by the President of the United States of America to a joint session of Congress is not difficult. It was already stated over fifty years ago on the opening pages to J.R.R.Tolkein's classic trilogy, the Lord of the Rings:
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie
In other  words, to translate the latest Saruman speak and WashingtonDC.orc talk: More Big Government as the Savior of all our  Economic Woes and American Sorrows. 

And, of course, upon delivery of this august address, there was great rejoicing all through the House of Congress and the Cable TV Studios. Implicitly it was understood that the Great Ogre of Unemployment with his Hordes of Underemployment would not dare to show their faces within the city limits of  the national version of Mordor on the Potomac. (Likewise faint hearts should not fear, Nationalsozialistische HealthCare for all will still be enforced freely and rationed  as prudently and carefully as every case may require.)  Neither did anyone have the unmitigated gall to interrupt and insist that someone was a liar as has happened in the past, regardless if lies, half truths or inaccuracies prevailed.

Yet as others have asked, is there any constitutional mandate for what was presented as the resolution of the problems that are facing the nation? But to ask is to answer, you silly goose. Perish the thought. May it never be.

Twin Siamese Parties
Still the real problem with all this, is not how does one go about electing a new president, or a new congress, but rather how does one elect a new electorate to replace the old electorate who voted for the incumbents. The same,  who largely, the Tea Party not excepted, promise more of the same old same old that got us here in the first place.  In case we haven't figured it out yet,  what was pretty much a  Republican version of a Stalinist personality cult preceded this administration's version  -  of  the exact same thing. Neither is it mentioned in polite society or  acknowledged by the  corporate bought and paid  for media,  but the two political parties in America are actually Siamese twins.

Socialist Parties
Tweedledum and Tweedledee   may be separate entities for tax purposes,  but by and large, they are still both firmly  rooted in the trunk  of  the Dire Necessity of More Big Government  Management/Control of the Economy -  whether indirect, through corporate collusions and  cartels (fascism) or direct, through  actual ownership of business, i.e. Government Motors (communism). In other words, whether direct or indirect, government control of the  economy is  of the  essence and definition of socialism, however it escapes the talking heads. Ben Gleck can't understand that Social Security is a socialist program, however much that Jon Stewart  Leibowitz might chide him about it on the Daily Show because at the least, both of them are really in  favor of the fascist version of socialism,  with respective emphases  on either warfare or welfare. But it's all ice cream, regardless of the flavor.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Of Pimps, Prostitutes and Primadonnas: The PCA and the Federal Vision

(updated 1/31/11)

A Report from the Friends of the First Amendment Society
As the Federal Vision more and more is starting to resemble a theological gong show, no doubt the Larger Catechism on the Ninth Commandment will be permanently drug (sic) out of cold storage and "hurt feelings" will be the de facto response to anything resembling plain and blunt speech, which in its turn will be labeled intemperate "hatespeech" and consequently dismissed via Geo. Orwell's memory hole. Even those who oppose the FV run the risk of being sucked in, as the following items might indicate.

Likewise, the title above has already transgressed the thin red line for the discerning reader, but we takes our chances in these days of declining literacy, theological or otherwise. That Scripture itself refers to heresy, idolatry or apostasy in terms of whoring around is, of course, completely beyond the pale of modern moderate calvinism and the finer sort of tea parties to which brazen faced women are seldom invited. But to continue.

The Green Hobbit Society
Over at the Green Baggins website, there was a discussion, entitled Misdirected Apology?, concerning what passes for an apology by Mr. J Meyers to the Missouri Presbytery (MOP) of the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA). This,  regarding his previous utterances, public and private as per  the Federal Vision theology currently perturbing the modern P&R churches - which incidentally, MOP absolved him of all connection  -   in that the PCA, along with the majority of other N. American P&R churches (NAPARC), has declared the FV to be off limits.

Nevertheless Mr. Meyers in 2007 signed the Joint Federal Vision Statement,   which makes for a prima facie case that Prov. 30:20 contains the substance of Mr. Meyers's apology, if it does not contain, at the very least, a wholesale, full scale repudiation of the JFVS - which it did not:
Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.
Likewise any discussion or critique of that same apology is misdirected/mistaken if it fails to aknowledge the obvious. To put it very mildly. Which is pretty much what happened at Bilbo's blog.

Partners in Crime/Band of Brethren
Of Meyers's  PCA brethren,  Messrs. Wilkins, Leithart and Horne, who also signed the JFVS, Wilkins of  Louisiana Presbytery and his congregation has since fled - surprise, surprise - PCA jurisdiction in Jan. 2008 for the safe haven of the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC) to escape - what else? -  censure for his FV theology. Peter Leithart, though a member of  Pacific NW Presbytery of the PCA, serves a CREC church in Moscow, Idaho and is currently facing charges in the same presbytery after the PCA's Standing Judicial Commission  directed the PacNW  to re-examine Mr. Leithart's views. (As below, we think a standing judicial commission more pragmatic than presbyterian.)

Only Mark Horne, also of Missouri Presbytery  and formerly an assistant pastor at  Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, MO.  where Jeff Meyers serves as senior pastor, is not under process.  To his credit Mr. Horne has pulled many of his provocative comments from his website defending J. Meyers and others, but that could also be from a heightened sense of self preservation kicking into gear. Of the high profile FV personalities of interest in the PCA, he is the last on the official  (JFVS)  list. (As Mr. Horne undoubtedly knows –  ominous drum roll here – "first they came for. . . .")

Friday, October 15, 2010

Plainly and Simply Crazy

Further Remarks on Frank Schaeffer’s
Impatience with Fundamentalism and 

Infatuation with Mysticism
Due to Studied Ignorance of the  Protestant Reformation

While this is not a complete book review,  just an examination of the Prologue  which can be read for free on the internet,  to Frank Schaeffer's latest book, some things are still a dead giveaway. Schaeffer still tells us what he thinks as  bluntly as he used to in the old days when, as “Frankie”, an angry young evangelical, he wrote A Time for Anger, The Myth of Neutrality in 1982.

Yet for those who appreciated his father, the well known Christian pastor, theologian, philosopher  and best selling author Francis Schaeffer, even as separate and apart  from his  political activism with Frank in getting the Religious Right started and Reagan elected in 1980, these have not been happy days since Francis died in 1984.   Among other things, Frank ended up joining the Greek Orthodox Church in 1990. 

Unfortunately that means when he is not voting for or playing the Byzantine sycophant to Barack Obama - see for example his Open Letters to the Republican "traitors"   and the President -   he’s been busy castigating both his parents  and his past involvement with   the Religious Right. Ergo his book  Crazy for God : How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back (2007).

Patience with God
Now however, in his latest title of 2009,    Patience with God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism), while Frank is beyond being crazy for God,  he’s still crazy -  as in irrational. (But that’s  OK because it’s part of being both religious and experience oriented according to Frank.) His latest tells us of his irritation with and  rejection of both evangelical and the secular “New Atheism” fundamentalism as opposed to his fascination with Kierkegaard’s philosophical existentialism, if not again Eastern Orthodoxy, which always hovers in the background.

In other words, his thesis is that these two mysticisms, philosophical and theological  thoroughly refute  the various contemporary fundamentalisms, religious or otherwise. Uncertainty, paradox and experience are the ultimate truths that rebut those who arrogantly claim to know different  ultimate truths. While this makes for a  bizarre and eclectic  melange of a substitute for those same evangelical fundamentalist  certainties, it comes at the expense of the genuine Reformation alternative. Hence the following.

Mr. Schaeffer is either genuinely ignorant of,  if not that he deliberatively chooses to ignore, Biblical Christianity,  at least  as it was understood and confessed at the Protestant Reformation in the Reformed Faith by the Presbyterian and Reformed churches in concocting his rebuttal of fundamentalism. Of course, Mr. Schaeffer is entitled to his opinion on these matters; that is beyond question. That his arguments are new, of substance and persuasive is an entirely different matter. Consequently an examination and critique of both  evangelical fundamentalism on the one hand and existentialism and Eastern Orthodoxy on the other is in order, as below and  in contrast to Mr. Schaeffer's evasion of the orthodox and Biblical solution to the issues he raises.

Monday, January 11, 2010

8/10/01 A Reply to Credenda Agenda

Leithart, Schlissel, Wilson  and Hal Lindsey  versus the Westminster Assembly, Ursinus, O.T. Allis, R.L. Dabney and John Knox 

[Something else grubbed up from the archives and  formatted for the web, in light of Mr. Schlissel's latest confusion on the RPW.]

Letter to the Editor
Credenda Agenda
Mr. Doug Wilson
August 10, 2001

Dear Sir,

In order to forestall any incipient prelacy in the New World order, Moscow, Idaho style, the Credenda Agenda, if not its good Editor, need to stop hem-hawing around and clarify its position on worship. Specifically this means explicitly affirming the historic reformed exposition of the Second Commandment commonly known as the Regulative Principle of Worship (the RPW hereafter): "Whatsoever is not commanded in Scripture is forbidden in the worship of God."