Elsie Dinsmore With a Beard

So I explained in a previous post how the homo-jihadis had successfully spiked my guns for a week or thereabouts. In response to my musings on this topic -- which was of some interest to me, I will admit -- one Christian observer said that he thought it was my tartness that was the source of all the trouble. As he said on Twitter . . . "If he spoke w/ compassion(Jesus-like)& represented opponents honestly & not in caricature he MIGHT get a hearing nstead of hatred." Now I do acknowledge that astringent adjectives sometimes do drift into my prose, and I acknowledge further that assorted cis-sies on the other side of this frank exchange of ideas don't like it when they do. My response to this very true observation is to not care very much because that is not the source of our troubles at all. If I were more like the Lord Jesus, more "Jesus-like," worse things would be happening to me than having my stupid blog blown off the web. People like Jesus get crucified. Jesus didn't teach and preach in such a way as to "get a hearing," unless you count that hearing in the middle of the night before the Sanhedrin. So I will just take a moment to note that what my critic … [Read more...]

How Blue the Sky Was

Manspreading

All right. I suppose I should explain to you all what was up with my near-week-long involuntary hiatus from blogging. There were various factors in play, but the central one was my misguided belief that I was somehow included in all that free speech business that Madison wrote about in the First Amendment. You see, say I were to write a "controversial" post about the homo-jihad, and say this post went nuts on Facebook with people reading it and stuff, suppose something like that. One of the things that usually happens when I misbehave like this is a series of cyberhack attacks on my server, conducted by the Anarchist Brotherhood in their ongoing fight for the Free Exchange of Ideas. In the aftermath of one such recent post, my blog's server wound up getting around a million hits a day, designed to crash the server. It did have that intended effect, and took down other web sites with me. My host company had no choice but to suspend my account. Like I said, there were other factors involved as well. Initially, when I thought it was simply a series of techno-glitches, I was tempted to be exasperated, a temptation which I manfully resisted. But when it turned out that I had not … [Read more...]

Surveying the Text: Joel

Introduction: The occasion of this prophecy was a swarm of locusts that devastated the land of Judah. That was a true disaster that was a portent of another follow-up disaster, an invading Gentile army. Joel calls upon the people of God to repent, and promises them true restoration if they do so. Part of his description of all this contains a prophecy of the day of Pentecost, which shows that God will in fact bring that repentance about. God invites Israel to repent, and promises that same repentance. The Text: “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: For in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, As the Lord hath said, And in the remnant whom the Lord shall call” (Joel 2:32). Summary of the Text: The reason for this great judgment was that the religious life of Judah had become external only, and therefore degenerate. The judgment falls on their ability to worship God (Joel 1:9, 13-14, 16). They are called to worship God in response (Joel 2:15-16), but they are pointedly told to refrain from mere externalism. “And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: For he is … [Read more...]

On Christian Disobedience #2

Introduction: With regard to our duties of civil obedience and submission, we have to consider the express teaching of the Bible. But we must do this in context, which means we have to set a contextual stage. This context is important in two respects—the broader context of doctrine and theology, and the second is the context of express examples. The Text: “And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard’” (Acts 4:18-20). The Idea of Covenant: Apart from an understanding of the concept of covenant, no sane understanding of the relationship between church and state is possible. The covenant is the theme which ties all Scripture together, and so if one does not understand how to think covenantally, the Bible will always remain a disjointed series of inspirational passages, or a monstrosity jerry-rigged into an alien system. Understanding the covenant is central to an understanding of our civil duties for obvious reasons. For … [Read more...]

The Ultimate Pledge of Allegiance

The sun is 93 million miles away, and yet every day we enjoy its warmth and light here. The Lord Jesus is at the right hand of God the Father, yet He is present here with us, now. His warmth and presence comes to us in the person of the Holy Spirit, and so if anyone asks if we believe in the real presence of the Lord in the Supper, the answer is of course. We don’t believe in His real absence. God is present here in and through the work of the Holy Spirit. We do not look for a physical presence in the elements of bread and wine, but rather a covenantal presence of Christ, manifested in His energy and power. Christ is present in the participles—He is present in our praying, singing, breaking, eating and drinking. The catalyst for all this is our faith, and even that faith is a gift from God so that no one can boast. So the bread and wine are evangelical types. They represent God’s offer of Christ to us, and in faith, as we receive them (in the participles) we are gratefully accepting what is offered. The Reformers lived in a time when the works of the early church father Tertullian were recovered, and it is from Tertullian that they learned that the word sacramentum … [Read more...]

The Barnacles of Devotion

We have noted that simplicity is an aesthetic value, and should not be regarded simply as a theological value. Too many times believers assume that if one’s good, then two’s better, and over the centuries the worship of God gets progressively encrusted with the barnacles of devotion. But it is not enough simply to develop an aesthetic sense in the abstract and then go build a building that is like that. This is because the sanctuary itself, once built, will have a didactic role. Once we have a church building, and we have a generation of children who grew up worshiping God in that building, we will discover that their aesthetic sense has been trained by their surroundings. The reason this is sometimes obscured is because of other factors. If you have an elegantly simple church structure, but the children growing up in it are surrounded by doctrinal and moral hypocrisies, those of them that still retain any genuine faith are going to want to get away from “all of that” as fast as they possibly can. Suppose the building is just right, but their father is given over to outbursts of anger. Suppose the building is just what it ought to be, but there is a financial scandal with the … [Read more...]

7 Theses on Historical Loyalties

Grounded loyalty is an inescapable part of historical studies, and attempts at academic detachment are simply attempts that reveal misplaced loyalty to a guild of historians (say) instead of to (say) your nation. What I want to do here is offer seven theses that might help us approach this most helpful truth from various angles. 1. The reason we should learn history is so that we will be better equipped to honor our fathers and mothers. The point of learning history is to display an appropriate loyalty to your people. In order to do that, you need to know who they are, and what they have done that is praiseworthy. This is loyalty, not jingoism. This is obedience to the fifth commandment. Jingoism would be when a fist fight breaks out in the card aisle when a man saw some other guy trying to buy the “best Mom in the world” card. A man who rightly honors his mother recognizes a man who is rightly honoring his. 2. But no human authority is absolute, and so when our fathers have sinned, we must repudiate that sin. “That they might set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious … [Read more...]

Review: Christian Reconstruction: R. J. Rushdoony and American Religious Conservatism

Christian Reconstructionism

Christian Reconstruction: R. J. Rushdoony and American Religious Conservatism by Michael Joseph McVicar My rating: 4 of 5 stars A short review here will have to suffice. I read this book in order to submit an extended review of it to Books & Culture, which I will do shortly. The short review is that this book was a detailed history of the rise of reconstructionism, by someone not himself a reconstructionist, and was surprisingly free of screeching. View all my reviews … [Read more...]

Surveying the Text: Hosea

Introduction: Apart from what we can glean from the book itself, we do not know a lot about the prophet Hosea. He was a prophet from the north, and the hard date we can gather from Hosea 1:4 means that his ministry was in the mid 700’s B.C. The theme of the book is Israel’s unfaithfulness to YHWH as typified by Gomer’s infidelity to Hosea. The problem, simply stated, was that Israel did not know their God (Hos. 4:1, 6, 14; 8:2-3). We have, in turn, vivid descriptions of infidelity, consequences, and restoration. The Text: “Come, and let us return unto the Lord: For he hath torn, and he will heal us; He hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: In the third day he will raise us up, And we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; And he shall come unto us as the rain, As the latter and former rain unto the earth” (Hos. 6:1–3). Summary of the Text: The sin that is expressly dealt with elsewhere in Hosea is assumed here. In order to return to the Lord, you have to have departed from Him (v. 1). And when we depart from the Lord, He chastises. Here it is … [Read more...]