Friday, May 25, 2007

On Evidence for God's Existence.

"Is Christianity Good for the World?" The Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson debate can be read (5 parts) here. It's very much worth the read. I thought I would give a snippet towards the end of the debate from Doug Wilson. I love his apologetics approach as well as his writing style and wit.

Doug Wilson:

"You dismiss the idea that the death of Jesus—the "torture and death of a single individual in a backward part of the Middle East" — could possibly be the solution to the sorrows of our brutish existence. When I said that Jesus is good for the world because he is the life of the world, you just tossed this away. You said, "You cannot possibly 'know' this. Nor can you present any evidence for it."

Actually, I believe I can present evidence for what I know. But evidence comes to us like food, and that is why we say grace over it. And we are supposed to eat it, not push it around on the plate—and if we don't give thanks, it never tastes right. But here is some evidence for you, in no particular order. The engineering that went into ankles. The taste of beer. That Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, just like he said. A woman's neck. Bees fooling around in the flower bed. The ability of acorns to manufacture enormous oaks out of stuff they find in the air and dirt. Forgiveness of sin. Storms out of the North, the kind with lightning. Joyous laughter (diaphragm spasms to the atheistic materialist). The ocean at night with a full moon. Delta blues. The peacock that lives in my yard. Sunrise, in color. Baptizing babies. The pleasure of sneezing. Eye contact. Having your feet removed from the miry clay, and established forever on the rock. You may say none of this tastes right to you. But suppose you were to bow your head and say grace over all of it. Try it that way.

You say that you cannot believe that Christ's death on the Cross was salvation for the world because the idea is absurd. I have shown in various ways that absurdity has not been a disqualifier for any number of your current beliefs. You praise reason to the heights, yet will not give reasons for your strident and inflexible moral judgments, or why you have arbitrarily dubbed certain chemical processes "rational argument." That's absurd right now, and yet there you are, holding it. So for you to refuse to accept Christ because it is absurd is like a man at one end of the pool refusing to move to the other end because he might get wet. Given your premises, you will have to come up with a different reason for rejecting Christ as you do.

But for you to make this move would reveal the two fundamental tenets of true atheism. One: There is no God. Two: I hate Him."

Monday, May 21, 2007

Interview with a Pro-Choice, I mean Anti-Life Student

Here's a good example of what the public fool, I mean school system, along with hollyweird, I mean Hollywood and the media brainwashing, I mean broadcasting is doing to the minds and thinking skills of our young people. Simple logic doesn't even seem to phase them. Talk about suppressing the truth (Rom 1). She admits that even if it was proven to be a real baby inside the womb it would still be OK to kill it. I guess people who are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness don't need more "facts"; they just need to repent of their rebellion.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Test Yourself...

Here's a few tough questions for you...

1. There is one word in the English language that is always pronounced incorrectly. What is it?

2. A man gave one son 10 cents and another son was given 15 cents. What time is it?

3. A boat has a ladder that has six rungs, each rung is one foot apart. The bottom rung is one foot from the water.
The tide rises at 12 inches every 15minutes. High tide peaks in one hour. When the tide is at it’s highest, how many rungs are under water?

4. There is a house with four walls. Each wall faces south. There is a window in each wall. A bear walks by one of the windows. What color is the bear?

5. Is half of two plus two equal to two or three?

6. There is a room. The shutters are blowing in. There is broken glass on the floor. There is water on the floor. You find Sloppy dead on the floor. Who is Sloppy? How did Sloppy die?

7. How much dirt would be in a hole 6 feet deep and 6 feet wide that has been dug with a square edged shovel?

8. If I were in Hawaii and dropped a bowling ball in a bucket of water which is 45 degrees F, and dropped another ball of the same weight, mass, and size in a bucket at 30 degrees F, both of them at the same time, which ball would hit the bottom of the bucket first?

Same question, but the location is in Canada ?

9. What is the significance of the following: The year is 1978, thirty-four minutes past noon on May 6th.

10. If a farmer has 5 haystacks in one field and 4 haystacks in the other field, how many haystacks would he have if he combined them all in the center field?

11. What is it that goes up and goes down but does not move?



1. The word “incorrectly. “

2. 1:45. The man gave away a total of 25 cents. He divided it between two people. Therefore, he gave a quarter to two.

3. None, the boat rises with the tide.

4. White. If all the walls face south, the house is at the North pole, and the bear, therefore, is a polar bear.

5. Three. Well, it seems that it could almost be either, but if you follow the mathematical orders of operation, division is performed before addition…( remember BODMAS??)

So… half of two is one. Then add two, and the answer is three.

6. Sloppy is a (gold)fish. The wind blew the shutters in, which knocked his goldfish-bowl off the table, and it broke, killing him.

7. None. No matter how big a hole is, it’s still a hole: the absence of dirt.

8. Both questions, same answer: the ball in the bucket of 45 degree F water hits the bottom of the bucket last. Did you think that the water in the 30 degree F bucket is frozen? Think again.

The question said nothing about that bucket having anything in it. Therefore, there is no water (or ice) to slow the ball down…

9. The time and month/date/year American style calendar are 12:34, 5/6/78.

10. One. If he combines all of his haystacks, they all become one big stack.

11. The temperature.

Waste of space?

We are so small, God is so big...

Our planet earth is a small part of a solar system that is 7.3 billion miles across. This solar system is a little speck in the galaxy called the Milky Way which is about 100,000 light years across.

Scientists know these things and they have a reverence for the universe. They stand in awe at what they see and they hear us Christians say that God created all that and he put man in one place… planet earth. (Little teeny weeny planet earth.) The skeptical scientists laugh at that and say… What’s the point of that? Seems like a lot of wasted space. All that space and man occupies this little teeny planet? Here’s the point… It would be wasted space if it were all about us.

Psalms 19:1 says, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork." It's not all about us. The heavens are telling us about the glory of God. All that space out there with us on a tiny spec of it tells us all about our insignificance and also all about God’s glory.

Here's a couple videos for you...

To God be the glory!

God is radically God exalted. He designed the universe to be about Himself... to declare His awesome glory. Rom 3:23 says… “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Sin is all about being defined in relationship to the glory of God. If we don’t have a reverence and an awe of the glory of God we are sinning. Sin is falling short of the glory of God. No matter how hard we try, no matter how good we are… We will always fall short of the glory of God. That’s why we were in so desperate need of the cross.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Evangelism and Theology

"Evangelism and theology for the most part go separate ways, and the result is great loss for both. When theology is not held on course by the demands of evangelistic communication, it grows abstract and speculative, wayward in method, theoretical in interest and irresponsible in stance. When evangelism is not fertilized, fed and controlled by theology, it becomes a stylized performance seeking its effect through manipulative skills rather than the power of vision and the force of truth. Both theology and evangelism are then, in one important sense, unreal, false to their own God-given nature; for all true theology has an evangelistic thrust, and all true evangelism is theology in action."

J.I. Packer

"Evidential Apologetics: the Right Way" By Dr. Greg Bahnsen

"In popular misconception today, the choice of an apologetical method facing a Bible-believing Christian is between arguing presuppositionally OR appealing to evidences from history and nature in support of Christianity. But that is entirely wrong. Presuppositional apologetics endorses and indeed encourages the use of evidences - but not evidences offered in the "traditional" manner as an appeal to the authority of the unbeliever's (allegedly) autonomous reasoning. Unbelievers who are self-conscious in their autonomy will usually fight against the force of the "facts" to which we can appeal in favor of the Bible's veracity.

When unbelievers resist the factual arguments which apologists can and should readily set before them to confirm or defend the Christian position, Van Til said we must then realize and take seriously that "the battle is not one primarily of this fact or of that fact. The battle is basically with respect to a philosophy of facts.... No one can be a scientist in any intelligible way without at the same time having a philosophy of reality as a whole."[The Protestant Doctrine of Scripture, p. 51.]

The presuppositional use of evidences in apologetics recognizes that ultimately the intellectual conflict between believers and unbelievers is a matter of antithetical worldviews. We must show that the unbeliever's worldview, by which he wishes to oppose the claims of the faith, would not only preclude the facts of Scripture, but the very intelligibility of any facts about any subject whatsoever. For that reason Van Til was adamant that the apologist not make the mistake of pretending to be neutral or autonomous in reasoning, but present his factual defense in the right way and in the right light to the unbeliever. "Christianity does not thus need to take shelter under the roof of a scientific method independent of itself. It rather offers itself as a roof to methods that would be scientific."[Christian Theistic Evidences, p. 56.]

If the intelligibility of the inductive, empirical reasoning used by the unbeliever to oppose the faith is to make any philosophical sense, the unbeliever will need to affirm the Christian faith as his presupposition or worldview! The efforts of unbelievers should be turned against their own unbelief. That is simply the presuppositional way of defending the faith and pressing evidential arguments.

Is the evidential power of (say) Christ's resurrection lost when the evidential argument for it is presented to the unbeliever within the context of Biblical presuppositions? Not at all. Presuppositional apologetics calls for the Christian and non-Christian to set side by side their two worldviews and do an internal examination of them both (and their respective "inner logics"). In such a comparison the evidential power of Christ's resurrection is easily set forth.

Yet somebody might wonder: "But if the presuppositions already require that the Bible be true and thus that Christ rose from the dead, how could the evidence be impressive?" Well, after the game-winning shot at the buzzer has become a matter of past history, and even though we know the outcome of the game, we are still astounded by that shot and can watch it in awe when we observe the videotape replay of the game. The shot is still impressive, even when you know the context and outcome. And the resurrection of our Lord is far more impressive, even when we approach it within the context of the Bible's presupposed truth. Christians should readily say to unbelievers: "Within our worldview the evidence shows that God raised Christ from the dead! (even more amazingly, He did it out of saving love for sinners like us) - and your worldview has nothing as impressive as that, but actually makes nonsense out of history and science and reasoning." The choice should be obvious."

Dr. Greg Bahnsen

Feelings, nothing more than feelings.

We describe so many things as “feelings” when they have nothing to do with how we feel. Take, for instance, love, joy and peace. Love (the Greek word in the Bible is “agape”) describes unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love. Many people just wait and wait to “feel” that “loving feeling” when it is their duty to love unconditionally. You don’t “fall” in (agape) love, you do it. You don’t wait until you feel it, you do it whether you feel it or not. Joy is not just a “feeling” either. You can have joy in the good times and in the bad. It is not a feeling you have but an attitude you keep. As someone once said, “Joy is not in things it is in us.” If joy was just a feeling that we experienced we could never be “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor 6:10). True joy is the only kind of happiness that you give without having. Peace is also something we mistakenly think of as a feeling. Biblical peace is not a peaceful “feeling”, it is a peaceful standing. Apart from the grace of God we are at war with God. As Romans 5 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” Jesus is our peace in the sense that He reconciles us to the Father. Biblical peace is not like the hippy kind of peace that you just feel inside. It is an external declaration not an internal emotion.

Another mistake many make is feeling “spiritual” when they are actually acting carnal. Many people think that being spiritual is nothing more than just a good, subjective, “spiritual” feeling. We would rather FEEL spiritual than BE spiritual. We must realize that Jesus came “in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Rom 8:4) Walking in the spirit, according to Paul, has nothing to do with feeling spiritual and everything to do with the righteous requirement of the law being fulfilled in us. Walking in the spirit (being spiritual) is not freedom from the law but obedience to it. Feeling spiritual does not mean being free from self-control. Many have a false view that being “in the spirit” means being free from control. The Spirit is blamed for many “out-of-control” experiences. The fruit of the spirit IS “self-control” (Gal 5:23).

We must do the right thing in spite of how we feel. Many say, “I don’t FEEL like it’s the right thing to do” instead of saying “I do the right thing in spite of how I feel.” In our humanistic and sensual society, feelings have become the basis for morality. When asked to make a moral judgment we say things like, “I feel like __________” or “here’s how I feel…” “But why should I have to do _________ when I don’t feel like it?” That is the most popular response to excuse oneself from fulfilling obligations to others. Feelings have been elevated, somehow, to positions of absolute truth and power. But we must do the right thing in spite of how we feel. We cannot expect to only do right when we feel right. For instance, we must resist temptation. That means we must resist a feeling. Temptations wouldn’t be tempting if they didn’t feel good. All worldly pleasures feel pleasurable at least temporarily. Following a so-called “good”, yet forbidden, feeling won’t feel good forever. That is why Moses, by faith, chose to be “mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.” (Heb 11:25)

Many times the expectation of “hurt feelings” prevents us from either speaking the truth, in love, or hearing the truth. How many times do we not say what needs to be said because we don’t want to FEEL embarrassed or we don’t want to hurt someone’s FEELINGS? The problem with many churches today is that the leaders care more about making everyone feel welcome than they do about making them hear the truth. Sometimes truth hurts, but in the long run it will set you free. Arguments and fights are usually caused by following your feelings instead of your conscience. As James says, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” (James 4:1) If we spent more time fighting off our feelings we would spend less time fighting each other. Doing the right thing doesn’t always feel good but it always IS good. Don’t wait for the right feeling before you obey. Many times feelings come after obedience. If a husband doesn’t feel loving towards his wife all he has to do is love her anyways and then the feelings will follow. The more loving you are the more love you will feel. In spite of how you feel, do the right thing.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Banner

Well, Karissa inspired me to make a new banner for my blog. The four guys, from left to right, are Cornelius Van Til, John Calvin, Martin Luther and Robert E. Lee. There are so many more men I could have put on there but not enough space. I also put the symbol for the Trinity. The Celtic cross, the Ten Commandments and the sword also have great significance. I might add to it or change it later, I don't know. I also plan to start blogging more consistently...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

"Is Christianity Good for the World?"

Doug Wilson is debating an atheist, Christopher Hitchens, over at Christianity Today. I am posting the first part of it below. It's pretty good.

"Is Christianity Good for the World?"
Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson debate.
posted 5/08/2007 09:17AM

Theologian Douglas Wilson and atheist Christopher Hitchens, authors whose books are already part of a larger debate on whether religion is pernicious, agreed to discuss their views on whether Christianity itself has benefited the world. Below is their exchange, one in a series that will appear on our website over the course of this month. Related articles and links Douglas Wilson is author of Letter from a Christian Citizen, senior fellow of theology at New Saint Andrews College, and minister at Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho. He is also the editor of Credenda/Agenda magazine and has written (among other things ) Reforming Marriage and A Serrated Edge: A Brief Defense of Biblical Satire and Trinitarian Skylarking. His Blog and Mablog site inevitably makes for provocative reading. Christopher Hitchens wrote, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything(Twelve Books). Hitchens is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and a visiting professor of liberal studies at the New School. He is the author of numerous books, Thomas Jefferson: Author of America, Thomas Paine's "Rights of Man," Letters To a Young Contrarian, and Why Orwell Matters. He was named, to his own amusement, number five on a list of the "Top 100 Public Intellectuals" by Foreign Policy and Britain's Prospect.

Part 1 | Part 2

From: Christopher Hitchens
To: Douglas Wilson
Subject: Is Christianity Good for the World?

In considering the above question (for which my thanks are due to your generosity and hospitality in inviting my response), I have complete confidence in replying in the negative. This is for the following reasons.

1) Although Christianity is often credited (or credits itself) with spreading moral precepts such as "Love thy neighbor", I know of no evidence that such precepts derive from Christianity. To take one instance from each Testament, I cannot believe that the followers of Moses had been indifferent to murder and theft and perjury until they arrived at Sinai, and I notice that the parable of the good Samaritan is told of someone who by definition cannot have been a Christian.

To these obvious points, I add that the "Golden Rule" is much older than any monotheism, and that no human society would have been possible or even thinkable without elementary solidarity (which also allows for self-interest) between its members. Though it is not strictly relevant to the ethical dimension, I would further say that neither the fable of Moses nor the wildly discrepant Gospel accounts of Jesus of Nazareth may claim the virtue of being historically true. I am aware that many Christians also doubt the literal truth of the tales but this seems to me to be a problem for them rather than a difficulty for me. Even if I accepted that Jesus—like almost every other prophet on record—was born of a virgin, I cannot think that this proves the divinity of his father or the truth of his teachings. The same would be true if I accepted that he had been resurrected. There are too many resurrections in the New Testament for me to put my trust in any one of them, let alone to employ them as a basis for something as integral to me as my morality.

2) Many of the teachings of Christianity are, as well as being incredible and mythical, immoral. I would principally wish to cite the concept of vicarious redemption, whereby one's own responsibilities can be flung onto a scapegoat and thereby taken away. In my book, I argue that I can pay your debt or even take your place in prison but I cannot absolve you of what you actually did. This exorbitant fantasy of "forgiveness" is unfortunately matched by an equally extreme admonition—which is that the refusal to accept such a sublime offer may be punishable by eternal [dang]ation. Not even the Old Testament, which speaks hotly in recommending genocide, slavery, genital mutilation, and other horrors, stoops to mention the torture of the dead. Those who tell this evil story to small children are not [dang]ed by me, but have been [dang]ed by history and should also be condemned by those who shrink from cruelty to children (a moral essential that underlies all cultures).

The late C. S. Lewis helps make this point for me by emphasizing that the teachings of Jesus only make sense if the speaker is the herald of an imminent kingdom of heaven. Otherwise, would it not be morally unsafe to denounce thrift, family, and the "taking of thought for the morrow"? Some of your readers may believe that this teaching is either true—in the sense of an imminent redemption—or moral. I believe that they would have a difficult time believing both things at once, and I notice the futility as well as the excessive strenuousness (sometimes called "fanaticism" in tribute to the way that the two things pull in opposite directions) of their efforts. Another way of phrasing this would be to say that if Christianity was going to save us by its teachings, it would have had to perform better by now. And so to my succeeding point.

3) if Christianity is to claim credit for the work of outstanding Christians or for the labors of famous charities, then it must in all honesty accept responsibility for the opposite. I shall not condescend to your readers in specifying what these "opposites" are, but I suggest once more that you pay attention to the Golden Rule. If hymns and psalms were sung to sanctify slavery—just to take a recent example—and then sung by abolitionists, then surely the non-fanatical explanation is that morality requires no supernatural sanction? Every Christian church has had to make some apology for its role in the Crusades, slavery, anti-Semitism, and much else. I do not think that such humility discredits faith as such, because I tend to think that faith is a problem to begin with, but I do think that humility will lead to the necessary conclusion that religion is man-made.

On the other hand from humility, the fantastic idea that the cosmos was made with man in mind strikes me as the highest form of arrogant self-centeredness. And this brings me to what must be (within the limits of this short essay) my closing point. We are not without knowledge on these points, and the boundaries are being expanded at a rate which astonishes even those who do not look for a single cause of such vast and diverse phenomena. There is more awe and more reverence to be derived from a study of the heavens or of our DNA than can be found in any book written by a fearful committee in the age of myth (when Aquinas took astrology seriously and Augustine invented "limbo").

I cannot, of course, prove that there is no supervising deity who invigilates my every moment and who will pursue me even after I am dead. (I can only be happy that there is no evidence for such a ghastly idea, which would resemble a celestial North Korea in which liberty was not just impossible but inconceivable.) But nor has any theologian ever demonstrated the contrary. This would perhaps make the believer and the doubter equal—except that the believer claims to know, not just that God exists, but that his most detailed wishes are not merely knowable but actually known. Since religion drew its first breath when the species lived in utter ignorance and considerable fear, I hope I may be forgiven for declining to believe that another human being can tell me what to do, in the most intimate details of my life and mind, and to further dictate these terms as if acting as proxy for a supernatural entity. This tyrannical idea is very much older than Christianity, of course, but I do sometimes think that Christians have less excuse for believing, let alone wishing, that such a horrible thing could be true. Perhaps your response will make me reconsider?


Christopher Hitchens

* * *

From: Douglas Wilson
To: Christopher Hitchens
Re: Is Christianity Good for the World?

I want to begin by thanking you for agreeing to—as the diplomats might put it—a "frank exchange of views." And I certainly want to thank the folks at Christianity Today for hosting us.

P. G. Wodehouse once said that some minds are like soup in a poor restaurant—better left unstirred. I am afraid that I find myself sympathizing with him as I consider atheism. I had been minding my own business on this subject for a number of years when I saw Sam Harris's book on the desk of a colleague, and that led to my book in response, not to mention a review of Richard Dawkins's most recent book, and now a series of responses to your God is Not Great, all culminating in this exchange. I am afraid that my problem is this: The more I stir the bowl, the more certain fumes, mystery meats, and questions keep floating to the surface. Here are a few of them.

Your first point was that the Christian faith cannot credit itself for all that "Love your neighbor" stuff, not to mention the Golden Rule, and the reason for this is that such moral precepts have been self-evident to everybody throughout history who wanted to have a stable society. You then move on to the second point, which contains the idea that the teachings of Christianity are "incredibly immoral." In your book, you make the same point about other religions. Apparently, basic morality is not all that self-evident. So my first question is: Which way do you want to argue this? Do all human societies have a grasp of basic morality, which is the theme of your first point, or has religion poisoned everything, which is the thesis of your book?

The second thing to observe in this regard is that Christians actually do not claim that the gospel has made the world better by bringing us turbo-charged ethical information. There have been ethical advances that are due to the propagation of the faith, but that is not where the action is. Christians believe—as C. S. Lewis argued in The Abolition of Man—that nonbelievers do understand the basics of morality. Paul the apostle refers to the Gentiles, who did not have the law but who nevertheless knew by nature some of the tenets of the law (Rom. 2:14). But the world is not made better because people can understand the ways in which they are being bad. It has to be made better by Good News—we must receive the gift of forgiveness and the resultant ability to live more in conformity to a standard we already knew (but were necessarily failing to meet). So the gospel does not consist of new and improved law. The gospel makes the world better through Good News, not through guilt trips or good advice.

In your second objection, you gaily dismiss the Old Testament, "which speaks hotly in recommending genocide, slavery, genital mutilation, and other horrors." Setting aside for the moment whether your representation of the Old Testament is judicious or accurate, let me assume for the sake of discussion that you have accurately summarized the essence of Mosaic ethics here. You then go on to say that we who teach such stories to children have been "[dang]ed by history." But why should this "[dang]ation by history" matter to any of us reading Bible stories to kids, or, for that matter, to any of the people who did any of these atrocious things, on your principles? These people are all dead now, and we who read the stories are all going to be dead. Why should any of us care about the effeminate judgments of history? Should the propagators of these "horrors" have cared? There is no God, right? Because there is no God, this means that—you know—genocides just happen, like earthquakes and eclipses. It is all matter in motion, and these things happen.

If you are on the receiving end, there is only death, and if you are an agent delivering this genocide, the long-term result is brief victory and death at the end. So who cares? Picture an Israelite during the conquest of Canaan, doing every bad thing that you say was occurring back then. During one of his outrages, sword above his head, should he have stopped for a moment to reflect on the possibility that you might be right? "You know, in about three and a half millennia, the consensus among historians will be that I am being bad right now. But if there is no God, this disapproval will certainly not disturb my oblivion. On with the rapine and slaughter!" On your principles, why should he care?

In your third objection, you say that if "Christianity is to claim credit for the work of outstanding Christians or for the labors of famous charities, then it must in all honesty accept responsibility for the opposite." In short, if we point to our saints, you are going to demand that we point also to our charlatans, persecutors, shysters, slave-traders, inquisitors, hucksters, televangelists, and so on. Now allow me the privilege of pointing out the structure of your argument here. If a professor takes credit for the student who mastered the material, aced his finals, and went on to a career that was a benefit to himself and the university he graduated from, the professor must (fairness dictates) be upbraided for the dope-smoking slacker that he kicked out of class in the second week. They were both formally enrolled, is that not correct? They were both students, were they not?

What you are doing is saying that Christianity must be judged not only on the basis of those who believe the gospel in truth and live accordingly but also on the basis of those baptized Christians who cannot listen to the Sermon on the Mount without a horse laugh and a life to match. You are saying that those who excel in the course and those who flunk out of it are all the same. This seems to me to be a curious way of proceeding.

You conclude by objecting to the sovereignty of God, saying that the idea makes the whole world into a ghastly totalitarian state, where believers say that God (and who does He think He is?) runs everything. I would urge you to set aside for a moment the theology of the thing and try to summon up some gratitude for those who built our institutions of liberty. Many of them were actually inspired by the idea that since God is exhaustively sovereign, and because man is a sinner, it follows that all earthly power must be limited and bounded. The idea of checks and balances came from a worldview that you dismiss as inherently totalitarian. Why did those societies where this kind of theology predominated produce, as a direct result, our institutions of civil liberty?

One last question: In your concluding paragraph you make a great deal out of your individualism and your right to be left alone with the "most intimate details of [your] life and mind." Given your atheism, what account are you able to give that would require us to respect the individual? How does this individualism of yours flow from the premises of atheism? Why should anyone in the outside world respect the details of your thought life any more than they respect the internal churnings of any other given chemical reaction? That's all our thoughts are, isn't that right? Or, if there is a distinction, could you show how the premises of your atheism might produce such a distinction?


Douglas Wilson

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Go Rep. Ron Paul

Chris Ortiz, for the the Chalcedon Blog, wrote this, "Although they tried to shut him out of the debate in South Carolina, Congressman Ron Paul continues to baffle media pundits and force establishment Republicans to define their conservatism. This edited video features the numerous responses by Ron Paul at the recent GOP Presidential Debate. He may not win, but he has honored all of us with his courage and incomparable consistency. There is NO conservative or liberal candidate that can match his sense of values and Constitutional emphasis. God bless him."

He even does a good job up against Bill Maher

Here's Ron Paul on Federal Reserve, banking and economy:

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

First the bad news

“The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions. It hushes their fears and allows them to practice all pleasant forms of iniquity while death draws every day nearer and the command to repent goes unregarded.” (A. W. Tozer)

This is why we must not remove God's Law or God's wrath or God's justice or even God's hatred from our message to the lost. You're not going to get me out of a comfy cruise ship and onto a little un-comfy lifeboat unless you make it clear that the cruise ship is sinking fast. The lifeboat is not good news to me unless I first know that the cruise ship is heading for destruction. This means that the Good News (Gospel) is not good news unless preceded by bad news. The Law, along with it's judgments, is our tutor that leads us to Christ. I think a good rule of thumb, when it comes to the gospel, is first the bad news and then the good news.

Kaila’s Birthday

My oldest daughter has turned 16 (on May 1st). Wow, it seems like I was just 16. Life is like a bolt of lightning, it comes and it goes. I use to say that Kaila was our best kid and she was our worst kid. I think that’s just because she had so much energy and life and personality and boldness and compassion and maturity and generosity and spirit. I no longer say that. She is now characterized by her good qualities. I know pride is not a good thing but I am so proud of her. She has such a passion for truth and a deep interest for people. I use to worry about her, now I trust in her. I thank God for the awesome privilege and blessing of being her dad. Kaila has been a firecracker through the years but now she just needs to be celebrated with firecrackers. I love how she is gaining a deep desire and a passion for the deep truths of God. I’ve been calling her up to a higher standard for years and now, it seems, at times she calls me to a higher standard.

One of the things I appreciate, and thank God for, is that I never feel disrespected by her. She honors her father and respects what I say. I love teaching her and she loves learning from me. I have always looked forward to the time when my kids were her age but I never expected that they would be as wonderful as she is. It's never easy for an oldest child. She is put in charge so many times and still expected to not be bossy. She has the difficult task of being in charge and not being in charge in different situations all the time. We tell her to be responsible and then we tell her to not be bossy. Life is never easy for an oldest child. Kaila is going to be an excellent wife, some day, and she is definitely a virtuous woman, just like her mother. I couldn't have imagined a kid, in my mind, as good and as amazing as Kaila. I thank God for such an awesome daughter and I appreciate, every day, the privilege of being her father.

I love you Kaila, Happy Birthday!


Ready or not here I preach

Paul, in a letter, told Timothy to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (1 Tim 4:2) Many people think preaching “out of season” means preaching when you are feeling bad. They think this is an exhortation to preach when you’re feeling sick or down or tired or bad. But the next verse explains what “out of season” means. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (1 Tim 4:3-4) The preacher should preach the Word of God to an audience who is receptive but he should also preach the same thing to an audience who isn’t. It’s the man of God’s duty to preach the Word, out of season, when nobody wants to hear it because “time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching.”

The church, today, has been infected with a consumer mentality that says, “When they don’t want sound doctrine you can water down and cater your message to fit with that. When they don’t want a lot of meat and heavy sermons you can back off and preach the Word a lot less.” The rule of thumb for many preachers today is “Preach the word in season and water it down out of season.” Paul, though, says to preach the Word when they want it and preach the Word when they don’t want it. Be ready, Paul says, “in season and out of season” to preach the Word and to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” We must preach to those who do have itching ears and preach to those who don’t have itching ears.

We must also preach the Word and apply it to all areas of life and living. If you go back one chapter in First Timothy you read this, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (1 Tim 3:16-17) All of Scripture is profitable and all of Scripture is profitable to all areas of life and living. That is why the man of God must not be afraid to preach it and apply it to all situations whether people want to hear it or not. The preaching of the Word must be stable and steady (it must not fluctuate) no matter how receptive the audience is.

In the book of Acts Paul speaks to the Ephesian Elders and says this, “And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:25-27) We should, as Paul, preach the whole counsel of God. But even more convicting, in this passage, is the fact that if Paul had not preached the whole counsel of God he would have been guilty of blood. Listen to what he said again, “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” Preachers who water the message down or trim it down to little, pathetic “sermonettes for Christianettes” need to check their hands for the blood of souls. We should want people to want to hear and we should pray that they want to hear but if they do not want to hear we cannot use that as an excuse to shrink from our duty to preach the whole counsel of God.

Paul continues, in Acts 20, by saying this, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.” (Acts 20:28-31) Paul spent three years applying the Word of God and preaching it here and there and everywhere. We must also, patiently and consistently, preach the whole counsel of God in season and out of season, whether people want to hear it or not. We come up with so many excuses to NOT preach the whole counsel of God. We say things like, “we need to first build a relationship with them” or “they’re not ready for the meat” or “we need to be relevant” or “we need to build some trust first.” Paul said preach it if they want it and preach it if they don’t.

When I was little we use to play the game of hide and seek. When the person who was seeking was done counting to 30 he would say, “Ready or not here I come.” We, as Kingdom seekers, must learn to say, in season and out of season, “Ready or not here I preach.”