Renewing the Patriot Farce

Big Brother

This weekend will determine whether or not the metadata collection of the Patriot Act will be renewed. I do not wish to speak to this as any kind of insider, for I clearly am not. Rather I think we all ought to step back and take a look at this from fifty yards away. Let us take an honest look at our corruptocracy, and let us do it from downwind. Let us do this having read the arguments that our Founders appealed to when they first established our liberties. Defenders of metadata collection say that it is necessary in order to protect our liberty from terrorists, and besides, no evidence exists that such collections have ever been abused in any way. The federal government is like some porch climbing burglar who thinks we are crazy to be worried about them pilfering the yellow house on the corner because why? Because all the controversy concerns the brown house and the red house on either side. We haven't even thought about the yellow house. So the metadata has not yet been … [Read more...]

On Christian Disobedience #3

Introduction: We continue to consider the increasingly relevant subject of Christian resistance to tyranny. But as we look to the Scriptures, beware of the danger of excitement over “right-wing red meat.” If ever a conflict with the magistrate comes, it must be a plain matter of submission to divine authority, and not an obvious example of a scofflaw who has just recently discovered a few Bible verses. It must be a matter of an upright man standing before a lawless throne, and not two dogs fighting over a piece of meat. The Text: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath . . . Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 12:18–13:10). Milestones in Paul’s Argument: Not only is general context important in understanding “Romans 13,” but it is also crucial to grasp the much-neglected … [Read more...]

He Tenders His Love, and Tenderly

An older English word for offer is the word tender. The great theologian John Owen said that in the Lord’s Supper, the Lord Jesus tenders an offer of Himself, inviting us to receive him. We have echoes of this older use of the word here and there, as in the phrase legal tender on your money. This meal consists of the shed blood and broken body of the Lord Jesus. We are proclaiming His death until He comes, the apostle says. But we are also proclaiming everything about that death. We do not proclaim His death in isolation, but rather in concert with everything the Scriptures teach us about that death. And one of those things is the love of Jesus Christ for us. “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Rev. 1:5). Any exhibition of the death of Christ is necessarily an exhibition of the love of Christ. It says here that He loved … [Read more...]

A Mind To

We all know that character, and moods, and particular virtues and vices are characteristic of individuals. But they are also characteristic of groups of people—generations, tribes, nations, churches. You know what it is like to travel around our nation, finding that one part of the country is particularly friendly, while another is particularly industrious, and so on. People collectively have a personality. Different generations can have different personalities. There is therefore a possibility of change from one generation to the next. There can be decline or there can be improvement—if there is change. One generation might just duplicate what went before. Our desire should be to stay the course, remaining faithful where our fathers were faithful (2 Tim. 2:2). When our fathers were not faithful, it is our responsibility to turn away from their example, refusing to follow them in it (Ps. 78:8). In other cases, we are to build on the preparatory work done by those who went before. … [Read more...]

Greyfriars Hall

Greyfriars Logo

If you have thought about training for pastoral ministry, you may want to check out Greyfriars Hall. Greyfriars is a ministerial training program that functions under the oversight of the session of elders at Christ Church. You can read more about the program both here and here. There are openings for the fall. If you are accepted, the tuition is free. You do have to buy your own books, and you still have to feed your wife and children, but there is no tuition. In addition, because of cross-listed courses, when you are done with Greyfriars, you will have about half of the work for New St. Andrews' MA in Theology and Letters completed. … [Read more...]

Anywhere He Said It

"You shall not suffer a witch to live, objects falling down at 9.8 meters per second squared, and nature itself teaching us that long hair is a woman's glory are all expressions of the same personal and divine will . . . When we confess Jesus as Lord, we have to take care to listen to everything He ever said, anywhere He might have said it. As it happens, He has told us a great deal through natural law, all of it consistent with everything He tells us in His Scriptures. All of Christ for all the world" (Rules for Reformers, p. 149). … [Read more...]

A Tool Chest Full of Excuses

"Failure to look these facts straight in the eye will tend, inexorably, to transform the claims of theocracy into ecclesiocracy, and from that into a separated ecclesiocracy. And when our separated ecclesial community gets out to the woods of Montana, we will not practice homosexual marriage among ourselves out there. But we will have absolutely nothing to say to the infidels in San Francisco, and if anybody suggests that we send them a prophet to declare their wicked ways to them, we will find our theological tool chest to be empty of tools and full of excuses. You see, we don't believe in natural law and nature/grace dualisms" (Rules for Reformers, p. 146). … [Read more...]

Push Function Quit

Video Games

Video games might well make your son ignorant and corrupt, but they won't make him stupid -- although I trust this might require further explanation. I have recently received some requests from parents about how to govern or regulate their sons' taste for video games, and so here goes. But before rushing to the question of how to govern or regulate, we should begin with the question of how to think about them. Concerns about the influence of video games usually reduces to two categories -- morals and education. If someone asks if all this gaming is "good for" my little Johnny, these are usually the two categories they would have in mind. The question about morals can't really be answered unless we are talking about specific games. It is like asking whether your son will be negatively affected by "books" or by "movies." What books? What movies? Grand Theft Auto is a cesspool of corruption, and the video game of Pilgrim's Progress isn't. Note that I am not here talking about … [Read more...]

Resurrection Practice

"At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16: 11) The Basket Case Chronicles #193 “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:53–55). As he leans toward the resurrection, Paul uses the language of “putting on.” In fact, he uses the same verb (endyo) that he uses elsewhere when telling the saints to put on Christ (Rom. 13:14; Gal. 3:27). And all of this “putting on” amounts to the same thing. Putting on Christ is the same thing as putting on incorruption and immortality. And so it is that the daily acts of sanctification, the decisions to put on Christ, are all resurrection practice. Life smothers death. The corrupt has non-corruption put over top of … [Read more...]

Wife Beating and the Idea of Revelation

Revelation presupposes three things — a revealer, a recipient, and a message with an accompanying hermeneutic. There is one who speaks, there are the ones spoken to, and there is the message along with the medium that carries that message. That medium would include all the created world, with its atmosphere and sound waves, papyrus, paper, computer screens, ink, toner, ones and zeros, and . . . a hermeneutic. How many times did Jesus tell us that the one with ears should hear? It is important to get the hermeneutic right. To illustrate how important this hermeneutic is (illustrated by two different versions of it, two distinct theologies of revelation) let us compare two very angular texts with regard to women. The first is from the Koran and the second from Exodus. [Husbands] "are the protectors and maintainers of their [wives] because Allah has given the one more [strength] than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly … [Read more...]

A Mound of Pink Cotton Balls

Double Standards

More needs to said about the idea of cultural justification. Apart from an understanding of this, there is no hope of grasping the deep divisions that the debates over same sex mirages are revealing. Note that I did not say that these debates are creating these division, but rather that they are revealing them. Same sex mirage is the earthquake; different approaches to cultural justification are the tectonic plates. Justification is of course a theological category. For those who are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation. When God looks at believers, what He sees is the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our federal representative and head, which means that He is the appointed face of the new human race, the appointed face of the new humanity. And when God wants to communicate with that new human race, He addresses us to our face. All that righteousness, that goodness, that obedience, is credited to us, imputed to us, declared to be ours, and bestowed on us by a … [Read more...]