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Lord of the Magazine Rack

People tend to think that worldviews are expressed in the various magazines for sale, whether Field & Stream, Good Housekeeping, or Penthouse. But the foundational worldview is actually found in the magazine rack, and the location of the cash register.

If WalMart decided that Monday was Muslim Day, Tuesday Hindu Day, Wednesday Christian Day, and so on, most Christians would be honored by the fact that we got a day. This is the deceitfulness of pluralism. But this would not actually be a case of objective neutrality, because every day is Money Day.

The point of making this point is not to insist that Christians “opt out,” as though that were possible. The apostle Paul had no problem speaking at Mars Hill, even though speakers of other persuasions came before him, and many others came after. At some level, Mars Hill provided a shared platform. But at the same time we should insist that we understand what is actually happening, so that we do not quietly and unobtrusively adopt the worldview embodied by “the magazine rack.” If twelve clowns are cavorting in the ring, you can jump down there if you want and start reciting the St. Crispin Day speech from Henry V — but to the audience you are just the thirteenth clown.

It is this quiet assumption of a larger reality outside Christ that is the affliction and bane of contemporary evangelicalism. A good example of this is the secular and unbelieving ownership of Christian publishing houses. The issue is not whether it is lawful to publish a book with such an entity, as I fully willing to do. The issue is whether or not you think it is odd, and whether you see the dangers inherent in it. For example, HarperCollins owns Thomas Nelson, Random House owns Multnomah, and HarperCollins owns Zondervan.

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Alive or Dead

“In Christ, there are no prohibited trees. Outside HIm, they are all prohibited. That means there is only one real question to answer, and it does not involve any grace-works ratios. The question is more basic than that, and has to do with the new birth” (Against the Church, p. 86).

American Bombast

“And the great American fault, in speaking and writing, is an excessive vehemence, a constant effort to be striking. Our style, as well as our delivery, too often lacks the calmness of conscious strength, the response of simple sincerity, the quiet earnestness which only now and then becomes impassioned” (Broadus, Preparation and Delivery, p. 323).

Category: Expository | Tags:

Both Lighting the Wrong Path

“Moralism is just a three-dollar flashlight to light the pathway to Hell. And of course, if we are guilty of the opposite error, if our lives are manifesting a lineup of dirty deeds done dirt cheap, the only real sin we are avoiding is that of hypocrisy. Overt immorality is the fifty-dollar flashlight” (Against the Church, p. 85).

Whetted Style

“Style is not a thing of mere ornament. Style is the glitter and polish of a warrior’s sword, but is also its keen edge” (Broadus, Preparation and Delivery, p. 322).

Category: Expository | Tags:

Vision Forum and a Season of Meditation

If you read through the complaint filed against Doug Phillips and Vision Forum by Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, it is plain that the tangled mess there — a mess that is entirely the responsibility of Doug Phillips — is a tangled mess.

I make a point of saying (again) that this whole catastrophe is the responsibility of Doug Phillips because it is, and also because — as should be apparent in the comment threads of my previous posts on this — there is a certain kind of mind that does not understand careful adjudication of claims and counter-claims. While they don’t understand how justice is supposed to work, they do understand taking up sides based on a partisan agenda. Thus it is that any expressed desire for caution in practice is taken as a full-throated defense of abusive behavior in principle. If it seems like someone doesn’t want to hang Doug Phillips right this minute, the accusation is thrown at them — “how would you feel if this had been your daughter?” I think I would feel about the same way as I would feel if false accusations of sexual abuse were thrown at my son.

I continue to believe that this whole thing should be sorted through by Christians, with a view to our testimony before a watching world. Based on the undisputed facts that have come out thus far, I have no doubt that if this were adjudicated properly, we would all see at the conclusion that Doug Phillips acted the part of a manipulative scoundrel. I met him once, in 2010, and he took the opportunity then to blow sunshine up my skirt. So nothing about this is a defense of the indefensible.

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Their Temples of Reason

It is usually no fun when people play the race card, but when evolutionists do it, the results can be highly entertaining, at least after a few million years.

My brother Gordon is Senior Fellow of Natural History at New St. Andrews. He was recently engaged to teach a one-off course in microbiology at the University of Idaho, which drew this protest, and then this one.

There is a kind of evolutionist who insists that his theory can only be falsified with rabbit fossils in the precambrian, and then rests easily in the full assurance that anything with a rabbit fossil in it can’t be precambrian by definition. This method works swell for them, and so they try to use a similar approach to journal articles, terminal degrees, and teaching slots. Creationists are clearly not equipped to be in the proximity of any of those things — for are they not all cornpones? — and so whenever they see a creationist they chase him out promptly, and then use his strange absence as an argument. His absence is an argument, and his presence is an outrage. What my net don’t catch ain’t fish, and if it does catch one on accident, we can always throw it back immediately and pretend it didn’t happen.

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Category: Apologetics | Tags:

The Same Nervous System

“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)

The Basket Case Chronicles #150

And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Cor. 12:26–27).

Not only do we adjust for one another, so that the more presentable parts of the body are presented, and the less presentable parts are covered, but we also share the same spiritual nervous system. If one member of the body is in pain, then the entire body experiences the pain. If one part is glorified, then the entire body rejoices.

So Paul then gathers up all the illustrations from the body he has been using, and says that the Corinthians together are the body of Christ, and he says that each one of them is a particular member. They are therefore interconnected, and should function with that interconnectedness in the way he has been describing.