Friday, August 28, 2009

QOTD

Speaking to lost people who think that God's justice doesn't include horrible things like Hell and anger being poured out on the wicked, John Piper reminds them:
When blood flows as high as the horse's bridle, you will think differently about justice than when your biggest problem is an air conditioner that doesn't work.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Great description of our generation...

I was recently "In the Nick of Time", a blog by Kevin T. Bauder, and came across a series by him in which he lays the groundwork for any reasonable discussion of the propriety of theater as a medium.

In it, he makes a statement that applies generally, and not just to a discussion of theater. It is long, but worth quoting in it's entirety. You could replace "forbade theater" in the first sentence with whatever your favorite topic would be.

Generation after generation of believers thought that biblical principles forbade theater. My generation disagrees. To which group should I listen?

Suppose we were to gauge the spiritual depth of these two groups. The first group somehow preserved the faith through persecutions by pagans, betrayals by heretics, and the decadence of the Romish system. At enormous sacrifice they reformed a corrupted Christendom, built the great missionary movements, and conducted the great revivals and awakenings. When they were called upon to do so, they went triumphantly into martyrdom.

The second group is part of the so-called “boomer” generation. When we boomers were still in our teens, we set ourselves up as moral judges over our parents and their parents. Our apparent idealism turned out to be cynical, however, and the moment we discovered that we could make money we dropped everything else. If we worked hard, it was only so that we could play harder. We brought in the sexual revolution, widespread pornography, and abortion on demand. More than anything else, we demanded more and more amusements of greater and greater sophistication, but lower and lower morality. We established ourselves as the most narcissistic, self-obsessed, self-indulgent, hypocritical and swinish generation ever to occupy space. But wait till you see what we do when we retire!

Christian boomers have been far more influenced by the mores of our generation than we admit. There are exceptions, of course, but we had to be bribed into going to church with promises of entertainment and programs. When we came of age, the mission fields began to decline. Biblical literacy went on the wane. We managed to produce the most notoriously immoral ministry since the papacy of Alexander VI Borgia. We did, however, manage to score high at PacMan.

The Gen-Xers have not done noticeably better, except perhaps to score high at Halo 2. We have, in fact, reached a nadir in American Christianity. A fundamentalist pastor is arrested and charged with decades of child molestation. The head of the NAE steps down, admitting to a liaison with a homosexual prostitute. Christian “artists” believe that they are edifying the Lord’s people by shouting obscenities from the stage. A Christian lifestyle magazine recommends a Sports Illustrated swimsuit girl as a Christian role model. Believers sport bumper stickers like “For All You Do, This Blood’s for You,” and “Grace Happens.” Fundamentalists cannot even agree whether the New American Standard Bible should be treated as the Word of God.

This is the generation whose word I am supposed to take? Of course. With all this obvious discernment going on, why wouldn’t I?


Quite a scathing (but not inaccurate) description of us. Definitely worth thinking about.

QOTD

"Today we are too much about what we do, and not enough about who we are." — Paul Washer

Monday, August 24, 2009

An important grammatical nuance of 1 Pet. 3:1,2

I was reading I Peter again the other day, and when I came to the beginning sentence of chapter 3, I noticed1 something in it's grammatical structure that I haven't noticed before. This item is not so much a correction of previous error in my thought on this sentence, but rather an expansion of it.

Before I get into what I noticed, let me repeat the sentence itself:

Likewise, ye wives, [be] in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation [coupled] with fear.


First, let me point out that the popular teaching2 on this verse is that a believing woman's unbelieving may husband may yet be won through her biblical submission to his authority, even though he may (at first) reject the authority of the Scriptures.

Now on to the actual discovery, which is found at the end of the first verse. The application listed above implies a reading of "by the conversation of their wives", which, incidentally, is how the ASV, ESV, and RV render the text (as well as the 1909 Reina-Valera3).

However, the text rendered in the KJV is "of the wives".

It is not only the KJV that renders the text this way. In fact, the Bishop's and Geneva Bibles also give this reading. Additionally, there is no support in the Greek4 — in any of the major or minor variations — for "their" over "the". The manuscript evidence is 100% on this particular phrase, and the Vulgate witnesses the same5.

This reading ("the") seems to place the focus on the collective conversation of the entire group of "the" wives, in contradistinction to the usual focus of the individual conversations of the individual wives to "their" individual husbands.

Now, the individualistic application I first mentioned is, I believe, a valid application of this passage. However, in light of the grammatical nuance (of the implied reading versus the actual reading), coupled with the larger context of the book — I am beginning to think that the individualistic reading is not the primary interpretation of the verse.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more solidly opinionated I become that it is, in fact, harmful, in that it entirely loses the point the Holy Ghost, through Peter, is actually making in the larger context, completely missing the primary interpretation and application of the passage. Furthermore, the popular, individualist reading is an unnecessary limitation on the scope of the passage, because it is — evidently, I hope — included as a subset of the collectivist reading.

I will expound on what I believe6 to be the primary, collectivist interpretation in a follow-up post. In the mean while, 1) I need to go home and go to bed, and 2) I want to see your thoughts on this, via the comments.7


-----------------------
1When I say, "I noticed", I do not mean to imply that it was at all my own discovery, apart from the Spirit's teaching. I only phrase it this way because, this being a seed thought (not fully discussed and developed), I do not wish to blame the Spirit for this if I am wrong. Insofar as the thought is correct, it is the teaching of the Spirit, and not of myself. Insofar as I am incorrect, it is my own error.

2Indeed, I do not remember ever having heard the "larger context" that I am about to explore taught, nor have I read it in any commentary on the passage. Whether this is because it is not being taught or whether I just need to "get out more", I would be interested to discover. :)

3Largely held in KJV-preferred circles to be the Spanish equivalent of the KJV. It reads, "por la conversación de sus mujeres". "Sus" is the possessive plural, directly equivalent to "their".

4The entire phrase reads, διὰ τῆς τῶν γυναικῶν ἀναστροφῆς ἄνευ λόγου κερδηθήσονται. "The wives" is τῆς...ἀναστροφῆς. There is no possessive explicitly written or even implied. In fact, there is a Greek phrase "of their wives", used in two places in the Old Testament (LXX — Neh. 5:1; Jer. 44:9), which looks like this: τῶν γυναικῶν ὑμῶν. It stands to reason that if the Holy Spirit meant "of their wives", He would have had Peter write "of their wives" (though being dogmatic about it may be stretching the point, which you , indubitably by this time, get).

5per mulierum conversationem sine verbo lucri fiant. Once again, no possessive.

6Indeed, I have no source to draw upon for guidance (see footnote 2)! This fact does, of course, scare me, since I am of the opinion that, as ye olde Anonymous put it, "If it's new, it ain't true."

7Or you can contact me otherwise, if you know my contact info.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Great Article....

I just read this great article, on "Christ, the breath of our nostrils", out of Lamentations 4:20ff.

I think the Expostulation to sinners at the end is particularly well written. It has definite Jonathan Edwards overtones, don't you think? Particularly this bit:

Do you doubt that God would put you to torment? Look to the cross, where he was pleased to put his own Son to torment for sins, and look to the lives of Christians everywhere who, although indwelt by the Spirit of Christ himself, he is pleased to bring through many trials and tribulations; and do you doubt that he will have the heart to put you to shame and torment? Your life is fleeting and uncertain if Christ is not your breath, and it may be cut off at any time, and you will be plunged into the fiery chasm of God’s eternal wrath. Flee to Christ at once, or you will be left utterly without hope!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On Elephants and Lies...

No, this is not a political post (although I might do one using this title on my political blog). :)

I was reading a book the other day, and I was once again reminded of an old analogy used by ecumenicalists to explain their god, and how he is the same god all the other religions have.

The analogy goes something like this:

There were once three blind men who came upon an elephant. They said to each other: "Well, this is a strange creature! What is it?" The first, who had caught the tail, said, "It is like a long rope." The second, touching the massive leg, replied, "That's impossible. This is very sturdy, like a strong oak tree! This creature is nothing like a rope." The third, hearing the descriptions of the others, and comparing it with the elephant's trunk, which was his point of contact, laughed, saying, "You're both very wrong! The creature is not a rope, nor a tree, but like a large snake. How could you both be so silly?"

The moral frequently given is that they were all right, and they were all wrong, for none of them could see the elephant in it's entirety, but could only encounter small parts of it.

The supposed application is this: the elephant is god, and we are the blind men. None of us is capable of knowing god's full shape, and so we fight and argue about what god looks like, but we are all right and we are all wrong. The Muslims, Jews, Hindu's, Taoists, Buddhists, Christians, etc. all worship the same god in different ways.

Immediately, the Holy Spirit pointed out several truths and several outright lies in this analogy. The truths first, as it's a fairly short list:

  1. God is wholly different from us in His very nature. (Ps. 50:21; Ps. 8; Is. 55:8-9)

  2. We are blind (John 9:39-41), and incapable of full comprehension of Him. (Deut. 29:29)

Now for the lies. (These are too long to put into list form.)

First, there is the underlying assumption that fallen, unconverted man is searching for God. But God says,

There is none righteous, no, not one:
there is not that understandeth,
there is none that seeketh after God.

They are all gone out of the way,
they are together become unprofitable;
there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Their throat [is] an open sepulcher;
with their tongues they have used deceit;
the poison of asps [is] under their lips:
whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness:
their feet [are] swift to shed blood:
destruction and misery [are] in their ways:
and the way of peace have they not known:
there is no fear of God before their eyes.
(Rom. 3:10ff, eph. mine)

And again, Jesus said,

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
...
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
(John 3:19-21; 6:44)

One more should suffice:

And you [hath he quickened,] who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
(Eph. 2:1-13)

...cf. this (esp. vss. 8, 9) with Heb. 11:6:
But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him:] for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

'Nuff said.

Secondly, there is a blasphemous assumption, even if we were to seek after God without His drawing us, that we could discover anything about Him apart from what He reveals of Himself to us.

Moses said,

The secret [things belong] unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law.
(Deut. 29:29)

Jesus reiterated:

All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and [he] to whomsoever the Son will reveal [him].
(Matt. 11:27)

Paul confirmed:

But as it is written, 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.' But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them,] because they are spiritually discerned.
(1 Cor. 2:10-14, eph. mine)

Once again, 'nuff said.

Corollary to this is an assumption that God has not revealed to us what we need to know about Himself, that we must figure it out on our own. But we've seen above that "God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit..."

Indeed, God reveals Himself fully in His Son Jesus Christ (John 1:18; 14:9; Col. 1:19), and we have direct access to His revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ by 1) the Scriptures (John 5:39) and His Spirit (John 14:16-18, 26; 15:26, 27; 16:13-16).

So, in conclusion, the analogy is a demonic deception, designed around assumptions that flatly deny the depravity of man and the revelation of God in Christ!

In fact, upon further meditation, it occurs to me that this analogy is very applicable to the god(s) of every religion but that of our Lord Christ. These religions indeed all serve the same god (1 Cor. 10:20, cf. Deut. 32:17), the god of this age, the prince and the power of the air (and/or his minions), and they will join them in their full punishment -- the wrath of God poured out upon them for all eterenity. (2 Thess. 1:7-9, 2 Pet. 2, 3)

Friday, August 7, 2009

QOTD

You don't tell men that they are saved; you tell men how to be saved. God tells them that they are saved.
— Paul Washer

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Well, that's interesting.

Turns out I'm a Covenant Theologian -- at least insofar as totally agreeing with this post makes me one. :)

This is, IMHO, a great breakdown of the Abrahamic Covenant and how it applies/doesn't apply to us (and the Jews, a.k.a. the "Israelites according to the flesh") today.

Let me know what you think!