Thursday, June 30, 2005

The State of the Blog

Yeah, I know I haven't posted anything on A Different Jesus in a week, spent most of this week trying to get caught up on a few other things, and am realizing the summer is slipping away from me. There's just no way I'm going to finish my "to read" list. Which is very depressing. Especially since I've come up with another, incredibly time-consuming, project I want to work on.

I do hope to pick up the pace of blogs--especially those that require thought to deal with, not just the "ooh check out this movie/tv show/trailer" type. But this week is pretty shot in that regard.

I had thought about saying something about the whole Eminent Domain thing from last week, but the polymath and Jollyblogger covered it better than I could (in both the serious and joking ways I would've gone, respectively)

Just don't get it

Surfing on Google News Beta (btw,how long is this gonna be Beta?) this morning, I saw several articles saying this:

Bloomsbury, the publisher which was transformed by Harry Potter, is poised to launch its biggest ever advertising campaign to coincide with the launch of Harry Potter and the Half Blood prince.
ooookay, more than 1 million pre-orders of this book have been made on world-wide, it's probably going to be the best selling novel of all time before month's end (that's July, not June, because that's now). WHY do they need to advertise this? I just don't get it. If you care at all about this, you know. You've probably known since the publication date was set last year--whether you want to or not. Why spend the money on advertising?

Ditto for Revenge of the Sith earlier this year. I mean, Hel-lo, we know! Well, okay, a good part of that advertising was to convince the jilted fan-boys that their hopes weren't going to be shattered for the 3rd time in this prequel series.

BTW, in case anyone wants to know, as I hit "Publish Post" there are 15 days, 13 hours, 40 minutes and 32 seconds 'til the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Proof is in the Pudding

There were many who had doubts when this maker of 3rd rate horror flicks got the go ahead to make The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And to say that he answered just about every doubt in The Fellowship of the Ring is to probably understate it--and he crushed the doubts, grinding them into a fine powder with The Two Towers. Then he sprinkled that powder of the graves of the doubters in The Return of the King (whether the doubters were in their graves yet or not).

So then he turns his eye to the movie he's wanted to remake since he was a kid. Many eyes rolled. Many figured he was a one trick pony anyway. And besides, do we really need another King Kong?But now the trailer's out. Jack Black plays a real human being. Adrian Brody gets to kiss the hot chick. Naomi Watts seems capable of stepping into Fay Wray's vocal chords. And we get a second or so of Andy Serkis doing his thing.

Wah-and might I add-hoo! Click here to see for yourself

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

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Monday, June 27, 2005

[Expletive deleted]!

Just watched my first episode of The Closer. In many ways I've seen everything in the show before--a murder or two being shoved under the carpet so the Feds/Someone Else could take down a major underworld figure; a cop who no other cop likes, but is great at their job; the cop who tries to help out a friend who's a suspect only to find out the guy is a major creep; the cop who sets up the bad guy to get whacked as the only way to get justice for the victim; the cop who puts relationships (professional, romantic, whatever) on the line to close the case...etc.

But rarely have I seen it this well done. Got this down in the calendar for next week.

Not only was Kyra Sedgwick was great, the supporting cast was spot on. Great to see G. W. Bailey again, Corey Reynolds did a good job, and while it took me a lot longer than it should've to recognize J. K. Simmons, I really enjoyed his performance. But it's Kyra's show, and she carried it well.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Spurgeon quote of the Day

"Overcome the world by patiently enduring all the persecution that falls to your lot. Do not get angry; and do not become downhearted. Jests break no bones; and if you had any bone broken for Christ's sake, it would be the most honored bone in your whole body."

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Why God Invented Elders

Nice post over at Jollyblogger, his notes taken from J. Ligon Duncan's sermon at the Opening Worship Service for the PCA's GA.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Day 2

Well, I talked about how much I hurt after Day 1 of my fitness program. Felt miserable yesterday...maybe felt worse this morning. But I made myself tackle the Day 2 regimen. Still didn't accomplish everything I should've, but got more done than Day 1. The pain is a lot less (mostly) than it was when I was dragged (kicking and screaming) out of bed this morning.

There may be hope for this ol' boy yet...

As if on cue...

Just the other day I'm lamenting how few really Presbyterian blogs there out in the blogosphere and *poof* one appears: Posse Bloggare Posse Non Bloggare. Keep an eye on this one, folks, should be worth the read (don't recall him uttering a less-than-edifying word in the pulpit or in discussion list emails...)

hmmm, maybe I should lament the lack of scholarships of OP Ruling Elders who are going to seminary... :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Different Jesus?, pt. 4

Chapter 3: Why a Restoration?

This chapter is significantly longer than the previous chapters, and I really don't have that much time for this today, so I'm only going to do a little bit of it...

Right out of the gate we read: "Foundational to any understanding of the Latter-day Saint conception of Jesus Christ is the idea of a restoration of divine truth in modern times." Yup. What was it that our Savior said about building on sand? He gives a couple of OT spoof texts for Isaiah and Amos prophesying about it, and then some NT spoofs for the apostles warning of it. Of course none of these texts have anything to do with a great apostasy, but why should that stand in anyone's way? He concludes his opening paragraph stating: "That apostasy entailed the loss or corruption of divine authority and true doctrine." (his emphasis) and the next section (and the only one I'm covering today) focuses on those.

Let's tackle authority first. He defines it as "the power to act in the name of God" and states that the NT "clearly teaches the need for it." But I honestly don't see this concept as he describes it in the NT. And then he simply states, "With the death of the apostles, within approximately one hundred years of the crucifixion of Jesus, this authority...was lost from the earth." No explanation of how it was lost (the spoof texts earlier don't give us enough information to test his assertion), no description of what happened, no evidence to support his claim, just "it was lost." And then he gives us roughly 1800 years of church history compressed into a couple of paragraphs and skewed horribly.

While Catholics claim apostolic succession... and Protestants speak of a "priesthood of all believers," Latter-day Saints teach that God's divine authority was not to be found in the Old World by the middle of the second century A.D.

1. This isn't at all what the phrase "priesthood of all believers" means! Hello! Doesn't Eerdman's believe in fact-checking? Who edited this book? Here's what the phrase means:
To be sure, Christ's apostles call all who believe in Christ "priests," but not on account of an office, but because, all the faithful having been made kings and priests, we are able to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God through Christ (Exod. 19:6; I Peter 2:9; Rev. 1:6). Therefore, the priesthood and the ministry are very different from one another. For the priesthood, as we have just said, is common to all Christians; not so is the ministry. The Second Helvetic Confession - Chapter XVIII
2. Again, no evidence for why the LDS teach that this authority was gone, it's just gone. Guess I'm asking too much...moving on:
The Roman Church had control of the Christian faith until the sixteenth century, when courageous men objected to, opposed, and broke away from Catholicism.
Church History a la The DaVinci Code. I'm guessing here (just a guess, because he doesn't spell it out) he means from the middle of the second century or so through the sixteenth. To call something the Roman church for the first few hundred years is silly. To think that as a persecuted group throughout the civilized world anyone "had control" is laughable. It wasn't 'til the 4th century that Constantine protected Christianity, and Rome certainly had no control over the Church then! And while the Reformers certainly were courageous (on the whole) the description of them as men who "objected to, opposed, and broke away from Catholicism" misses the point--sure they objected to it, protested it, but they didn't break away--they were kicked out! I do find it funny that Wesley seems to be lumped in with the Reformers--men whose doctrines he would oppose, and who were dead long before he came along.

One more point on his history. He holds up Roger Williams as someone who saw the need for apostolic authority to be given by God to the Church. He describes Williams as "the man known as the founder of the Baptist faith." I took a moment to ask a group of pretty knowledgeable Baptists if they agreed with that description. One Baptist who's taught Church History replied, "Uh, no." And that was the general consensus. I don't blame Millet for this totally, some editor along the way should've stopped this historical mess.

At this point he segues into the "loss or corruption of doctrine and I've gone on so long already, I'll leave that for tomorrow.

Ummm, Errr, Ummmm...this is a good thing, right?

Stryper is releasing a new album in August, Reborn. Here's the official press release.

Gotta Tip Your Hat to this Lady

I'll admit I'm not that up on the whole Jim West controversy (mayor of Spokane, WA), I've heard a little bit about it on TV, read some on a couple of blogs (espeically Huckleberries Online)...but he's not my mayor, so I haven't really focused too much on it. But the story of Shannon Sullivan is a gripping one. I hope she and her son come out of this thing intact...

Monday, June 20, 2005

A Different Jesus?, pt. 3

Chapter 2: The Jesus of History, the Christ of Faith

Sorry this one took so long...Real LifeTM caught up with me Friday, putting me behind schedule. Let's see what Millet has for us today.

He starts off talking about the Jesus Seminar, much his response to it (and like thinking) is on the money. I'm a little annoyed by his "I add my voice to the growing through of tens of thousands of irritated Christians." Sure, he considers himself a Christian, and part of his plan is to get evangelicals to think the same (he keeps saying it like this and many of his readers will start doing it too). But surely this is a red flag that some editor along the way at Eerdmans should've caught.

He quotes Gordon B. Hinckley, back when he was a mere apostle (emphasis his):

Modern Theologians strip [Jesus\ of his divinity and then wonder why men do not worship him. These clever scholars have taken from Jesus the mantle of Godhood and have left only a man. They have tried to accommodate him to their own narrow thinking. They have robbed him of his divine Sonship and taken from the world its rightful King.
ummm, Kettle? Pot's on line 2, something about you being black. Do I absolutely agree with Hinckley as far as Liberal Theology goes? Yup. But what does LDS theology do to Christ's divinity? They strip Him of it! He's not divine, He's not fully God yet fully man. He's just like every other spirit-child of God, He just came first! Utter hogwash.

Along the lines of thinking "Faith is based on evidence, and the stronger the evidence the stronger the faith" he favorably quotes John Warwick Montgomery...heh. You'll never see him quote Greg Bahnsen. :) Who, incidentally, would make mincemeat out of this book. I do have to admit, I agree with the Montgomery quote regarding the impossibility of any kind of Christianity without the events of the Gospels being true. He follows it with a quote from Alma, which takes a little wind from my sales. He then goes into the whole C. S. Lewis--Liar, Lunatic or Lord thing and assorted arguments on that front.

Then we come to the conclusion. It's here that my hackles really get raised, he invites people to
"Come and see" (John 1:39). We believe the final great test in determining the living reality of Jesus Christ and the essential truthfulness of the New Testament record is the test of faith, the test of spirit, the test of individual revelation, with the assurance that all can know.
Sure, sounds a little Josh McDowell-ish. But that's not what the invitation of the Scriptures is. It's not "try out Jesus for 30 days, your money back if not completely satisfied." Not even sure what the test of spirit is...need to ask someone. Okay, I asked someone; it seems the test of faith=test of spirit=test of individual revelation=test of assurance. It's the point where you're talking to an LDS missionary and they tell you to pray whether it's true or not, and you'll get a "burning in the bosom" or "a feeling of certainty" inside that it's all true. Pretty sure this isn't what John had in mind when he told us to "test the spirits." It sure ain't the apologetic Paul used on Mars Hill.

He then talks about trusting the Bible:
While the Latter-day Saints do not subscribe to a postilion of scriptural inerrancy, they do have a firm conviction that the scriptures mean what they say and say what they mean. They are to be trusted.
You can trust the Scriptures, sure they might be wrong from time to time...and the Prophet can correct them anytime he wants...but trust 'em.

A final thought about Millet's use of C. S. Lewis and J. B. Phillips, etc. This chapter is filled with quotes by evangelical apologetic works (many I have on my shelf), and there's an impulse to not be bothered because of his target: Jesus Seminar-type people. You know, the whole enemy of my enemy thing. But I am bugged by it. He's quoting these guys for a reason: he wants to appear like he's just a part of a different "brand" of Christianity. And I don't think he's trying to be deceitful or anything by quoting orthodox types, but he's clothing himself in the clothes of sheep because he thinks he is one (at least on some level). But at the end of the day, he's just a deluded wolf.

Can't stop laughing...


Michael Jackson culture

James Bowman starts his review of My Summer of Love--like pretty much everything Bowman reviews, an interesting sounding movie that I'll never get around to watching despite my intentions--with the following observation. But it's stuff like this that makes me read his reviews

Writing in The Times of London about the Michael Jackson trial, Oliver James, a psychologist, notes that "The thing about people with borderline personality disorder, which I believe Jackson has, is that they have a weak sense of self - as evidenced by the need to change his skin color, his erratic moods and the fact that he thinks he is Peter Pan. They are constantly acting out different personalities, which means that the boundary between fantasy and reality is blurred." As in other ways, however, in this Michael Jackson stands for so much more than himself. Ours is the age of borderline personality disorder - not to mention the Peter Pan culture of eternal adolescence. The culture which once attempted to mould and shape us to a particular ideal now turns us loose into a world of infinite choices, and of nearly infinitely possible selves and demands only that we choose. Small wonder if we retreat and hide from such choices, or pretend like Michael Jackson in his absurd military uniforms, that we can slip from one to another without ever committing to any.

ow ow ow ow ow ow

Chat pal of mine who's really into fitness and taking care of yourself and that sort of nonsense got me hooked up with this home fitness thing. Really simple exercises, have done harder workouts back in the day (so long ago that phrase wasn't a cliche). Due to uber-mystery disease delays, today was Day 1.

I am past my prime. Not sure I had a prime that lasted more than a couple of days, really. But it was long, long a ago.

I couldn't do everything I was supposed to do, even using a ridiculously low amount of weight, and I am hurting. I will probably not be able to move pain free 'til Weds.

when it's time for Day 2.

Stick a fork in me...I'm done.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

No Compromise

Don't normally do this (actually, have never) but this morning's sermon was so good, so on the money, and soooo not what most people heard this morning (never mentioned Father's Day once...Quelle Horreur!) Give it a listen: The Way God Sees It from Luke 17:1-5. The last few seconds got cut off, but you can get the gist of it.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Saw It!

Not much to say but wow! Sign me up for the sequel! Maybe in the next few days I'll find time to say more, but for!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Blogroll Housekeeping

Added a few links (Bloguccino, Patrick's Pensees,, PyroManiac), dropped a few. If I'm overlooking anyone, sorry, feel free to remind me.

Not to sound all partisan, but I wish I had more presbyterian blogs...I know of a few, but frankly, don't think they're terribly presbyterian.

Warfield on Learning and Devotion

saw this on The Christian Mind and wanted to bring it up here:

"Nothing could be more fatal, however, than to set these two things over against one another. Recruiting officers do not dispute whether it is better for soldiers to have a right leg or a left leg: soldiers should have both legs. Sometimes we hear it said that ten minutes on your knees will give you a truer, deeper, more operative knowledge of God than ten hours over your books. "What!" is the appropriate response, "than ten hours over your books, on your knees?" Why should you turn from God when you turn to your books, or feel that you must turn from your books in order to turn to God? If learning and devotion are as antagonistic as that, then the intellectual life is in itself accursed, and there can be no question of a religious life for a student, even of theology."

--Benjamin B. Warfield, The Religious Life of Theological Students

12 hrs and counting...

In 12 hours I will be in cinematic heaven. The Mrs. and I will be sitting in a theater with too many of my fellow Canyon County citizens watching the best movie Batman ever (if reviews can be believed--and so many of them are saying it, I kinda am forced to).

Man, I remember Burton's Batman. We had midnight showing tickets...pretty sure my dad fell asleep, my mom probably toyed with sleeping. Not me, not for a second. I was drinking it all in--this was probably the the moment I became a geek in the full sense of the word at the ripe ol' age of 15. Now, I watch it again and think that Burton over-stylized things...bit too gothic in Gotham. But right was perfection. A year or so previously I'd gotten into a heated debate with some friends over the casting of Michael Keaton. They couldn't believe that a Mr. Mom/Johnny Dangerously could pull it off. I'd seen one picture of him in Newsweek--a still from a previous film (maybe Clean and Sober) that sealed it for me. There was an intensity, a grit, to the man. I knew he could do it. Sadly, I didn't carry the picture around with me to show my friends, and they won the debate. But I won the war. Keaton rocked--don't think many deny that.

But then came the excesses of Batman Returns, and the lousy scripts/directing of Batman Forever and Batman and Robin that made us all yearn for the restraint of Burton. And a well-deserved break/exile from the theaters. It wasn't 'til Byran Singer and Sam Raimi showed everyone you could make a decent superhero movie again that there was any hope (I remember wanting to rush out of the theater after X-Men and buy every comic book I could find).

So now Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale have come to the rescue of the Dark Knight. Sure, in 5-10 years I'll be able to complain about it in the same way I can pick at Batman (still hae my doubts over Katie Holmes--you know that was a studio-pressured casting). But not tonight. Tonight's all about the fun. whoo-hoo.

for the record, this is not me in the first couple of panels (mostly because I don't have such a shirt...okay, 100% because I don't have such a shirt)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A Different Jesus?, pt. 2

Chapter 1: Jesus Before Bethlehem

So he starts by buttressing LDS belief in pre-existence of souls by showing that "many have perceived" something similar, like William Wordsworth and Marcel Proust. Okay, so Millet's proved that he survived Survey of Western Lit II, but that's about all.

Describing the pre-mortal state he says,

We developed and matured according to our adherence to God's eternal law, and in spite of the fact that we walked and talked with God, it was necessary for us to exercise faith in God's plan for the ultimate salvation of his children.
"Ultimate salvation," a phrase nicely slipped in. Wonder when that'll come back up and be explained (I'm guessing never)....kinda sounds like a Reality TV show...probably on Pax or TBN.

Millet quotes Bruce R. McConkie, saying that Christ
is described as being 'from everlasting to everlasting' (D&C 61:1), and 'from all eternity to all eternity' (D&C 39:1).... He was born, as were all the spirit children of the Father.
Now let's stop for a second here..."everlasting to everlasting" and "born." Ummmm, 'scuse me? Isn't that kind of a tough thing to pull off--he's eternal, but he had a start. And yeah, I know the LDS have some convoluted explanation for this, but Millet doesn't even bother to give it. This'd be a great time for it, but it's nowhere to be found.

Throughout this chapter there are several quotations from D&C that resemble/quote the Bible, but he only cites D&C. There's strategery here...on the one hand, you might think of citing both texts to imply that the D&C says the same as the Bible. On the other hand, by simply quoting D&C, you get evangelicals to think "oh, that's where that phrase is" (or something to that effect). There's pluses and minuses to both. On the whole, I'd go with the other tack, but that's just me.

One of his points in this chapter is to show that myths/legends/other religions have elements of truth mixed in (holdovers from early man having the truth).
In as much as the doctrines of rebirth, regeneration, resurrection, and the immortality of the soul were taught from the beginning, why should we flinch when we discover the doctrines of reincarnation, transmigration of souls, and rebirth in such traditions as Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism, or when we encounter a people like the ancient Egyptians who are obsessed not with death (as some suppose), but with life after death?
Now not saying anything about the truth of this claim for the Egyptians (don't know, not sure I care), but you just don't throw something like that out there without defending it. C'mon Robert, we deserve a footnote at least. Sloppy. I think the argument he's making is intriguing, and I'd like to see him flesh it out some more, but he damages his credibility with tactics like this.

Everyone has access to some measure of light and truth from the Almighty. Brigham Young thus declared that there has never been "a man or woman upon the face of the earth, from the days of Adam to this day, who has not been enlightened, instructed, and taught by the revelations of Jesus Christ.
Nice assertion, why don't you argue for it more. Oh, too busy?

He attempts--shamelessly--at this point in his conclusion to bring C. S. Lewis in to argue his case. Now whatever problems Lewis had (there are many!), there's no way he's trying to make the same case as Millet. Period. No way. This does illustrate some of the problems with Lewis' Tao. But when Lewis talked about those "who are slowly becoming Christians though they do not yet call themselves so. There are people who do not accept the full Christian doctrine about Christ but who are so strongly attracted by Him that they are His in a much deeper sense than they themselves understand. He's talking about a Christian malgre lui (a la O'Connor's A Good Man Is Hard To Find, not someone taught by revelations of Jesus Christ who just haven't been led to a higher light in the gospel (either in this life or the next). This is downright dishonest.

Some of these comments might seem picky, but they're the same complaints I make of evangelicals when I read 'em, Millet deserves nothing less. I'm not saying that my complaint about the Egyptian line (for example) disproves Millet's thesis, I'm just saying it takes points away from him.

All right, that's it for Chapter 1.

You a little sick of the gloating?

Michelle Malkin does the work we're all to lazy to do and shows that the Schaivo Autopsy Report isn't all that some say it is.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A Different Jesus?, pt. 1

For a change of pace (and to keep myself reading this book), I'm going to be live-blogging my thoughts on Robert L. Millet's book A Different Jesus? The Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (Eerdmans, 2005). Yeah, I said Eerdman's--as Dr. White, Dr. Svendsen, and several others have chronicled reactions to and by Eerdmans publishing an apologetic work by a Latter-Day Saint (those links are just a sampling from each site, btw, look around on all of them). I personally, think it somewhat fitting that a company named for an indifferentist (to use Machen's term) like Charles Eerdman would later sellout the gospel, still, it bugs me no end. From the get-go, this book doesn't appear to be what it claims for itself--an explanation to evangelicals of LDS belief. It's an argument for it. Period.

Forward by Richard Mouw. Mouw assures us, "I still have some serious misgivings" regarding LDS thought "But I also have to admit that the misgivings do not run quite as deep as they did earlier." This is thanks to discussions with Millet and other LDS scholars. He also casts some aspersions on books by Christians on Mormonism. He makes it clear that you can't trust Christian writers on this topic, at least not as much as you can Mr. Millet. Outrageous! Because of co-belligerence on Right-to-Life work, as well as on other fronts, LDS and Evangelicals are working together more, so this is a chance for bridges to be built and us to be a "wonderful demonstration of civility in our increasingly uncivil world." Zowee! A demonstration of civility! Nothing like being civil while souls are rushing to destruction.

Why This Book Was Written
Millet starts off asking some questions:

Do we worship the same Jesus worshipped by our Friends of other Christian Faiths? [how many Christian faiths are there? Eph. 4:5] This question is not answered quickly or easily. It strikes at the heart of who the Latter-day Saints are and what they really believe. Gordon B. Hinckley, fifteenth president of the Church, asked: "Are we Christians? Of course we are! No one can honestly deny that. We may be somewhat different from the traditional pattern of Christianity. But no one believes more literally in the redemption wrought by the Lord Jesus Christ. No one believes more fundamentally that He was the Son of God, that He died for the sins of mankind, that He rose from the grave, and that He is the living resurrected Son of the living Father."

One might ask: Why does it matter so much to you that some refer to you as a non-Christian sect? [see the Introduction below for Joseph Smith's thoughts on the "traditional pattern of Christianity"] For years it didn't' I felt that it really was no big deal that persons of other faiths simply didn't understand who and what we are. That was their problem. In recent years, however, it has become more of a personal preoccupation to assist others to know what we do believe and why we claim Christian status. It began to dawn on me when someone commented that 'Mormons are not Christians" that major misconceptions were being conveyed. Does it mean we do not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ or accept the truthfulness or historicity of the New Testament? Do we not believe that our sins can be forgiven and our natures changed through the power of the blood of Christ? Do we not believe we should seek to emulate his matchless life? Do we not believe in the resurrection and the immorality of the soul? Are we like Jews or Muslims or Buddhists or Hindus when it comes to our perception of Jesus?

This book is going to be his attempt to show how the LDS view Jesus Christ "his identity, his distinctive mission, his matchless teachings, his sufferings, death and resurrection, and his transforming power." Millet makes clear this isn't authorized by the LDS church, it's his perspective. That's important to remember--only the LDS church can authoritatively speak on doctrine. No matter what this guy says, it ultimately doesn't mean it's what the church teaches. This is a nice little escape clause, don't ya think?

Introduction: How It All Began
Now according to Mouw, most evangelicals writing on LDS belief can't be trusted. So imagine my surprise when I learned nothing whatsoever in Millet's introduction where he traced the histories of J. Smith's First Vision; the roots of the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine & Covenants; a sketch of the LDS view of Revelation and Scripture; and so on. The only thing different in this intro to what I'd read previously was the "spin" put on the events and views. Whereas Evangelicals consider it all hooey, Millet considers it true--otherwise, like I said I've heard it all before.

A couple of things to highlight. First, these quotations from LDS leaders: "My mind was opened to conviction, and I knew that the Christian world had not the religion that Jesus and the Apostles taught. I knew that there was not a Bible Christian on earth within my knowledge." (Joseph Smith) "I did not join any church, believing that the Church of Christ in its true organization did not exists upon the earth." (Wilford Woodruff, 4th president of the Church) "convinced that the sects were all wrong, and that God had no church on earth, but that he would soon have a church on earth whose creed would be the truth" (describing Willard Richards, a counselor to Brigham Young). OOOOkay, why all this fuss over whether we think you're a Christian or not, Robert? Your past leaders consider us to be non-Christian, why can't we think the same of you? Are your feelings that fragile?

On the subject of the open canon of the LDS, one leader writes, "What makes us different from most other Christians in the way we read and use the Bible and other scriptures is our belief in continuing revelation. For us, the scriptures are not the ultimate source of knowledge, but what precedes the ultimate source. The ultimate knowledge comes by revelation...through those we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators." I hope he picks up this idea some more later, because I think it's worth dwelling on...if he doesn't I'll try to return to it myself.

Okay, I think it's pretty clear I'm antagonistic to this book at the start--it's not impressing me yet. I'll try to dip into Chapter 1 tomorrow, "Jesus Before Bethlehem." That's sure to be a doozy.

Quick Plug

If you've never heard of the E4 Group before, well, you're missing out. Here's some of their canned text I'm supposed to use to get the word out:

Here's this incredible offer that I think you should check out. It's a free 31 volume QuickVerse Bible Software CD that this nonprofit ministry gives away (they do make you pick up the shipping).

I was quite impressed with the true ministry of this offer. You can get the free CD at their website: or by calling 866-66-BIBLE (866-662-4253).

It really is great--been using various versions for years now. Give 'em a shot.

Over at the Sem Blog

Remembered that I was supposed to be keeping my seminary events chronicled at my SemBlog, so threw up three posts over there over the last couple of days.

For those who are interested.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

He's the Strongest... He's The Quickest.... He's The Best!

I remember hearing about it somewhere, Danger Mouse was coming to DVD at long last. And I dashed off to to put it on my wish list. Then with finals/Kidney Kids' surgery/my own strange illness, I'd plum forgotten about it until Gerald blogged it yesterday. Not only was it coming out--it was out already!

So I had to start planning. My wife had been denied the luxury of cable growing up, so I knew she wouldn't be familiar with this treasure. I, on the other hand, had watched every single episode several times--loved 'em. Humor, suspense, British accents, explosions, strange catch phrases...everything that a kid could want and love. So I have to get this set--not just for me, but for my kids. This is one of those things that a father has to pass down to his sons (and some daughters, like mine, who have a taste for action heroes). But how do I convince my wife that this is just such an heirloom?

So, it hits me: my sister. Who better than the gal who watched all those episodes with me to testify to their quality? So I send her an email about him, first just to play a little, I quizzed her--she was certainly going to get this. Here's our exchange, she'll be in italics:

quick question: what's your reaction when I say _______ & Penfold

He's The Greatest - He's Fantastic!
Wherever there is Danger, He'll be There..
He's The Greatest Secret Agent In The World!
He's The Ace - He's Amazing...
He's the Strongest... He's The Quickest.... He's The Best!

I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.....

(sniff) that's truly sad. Danger Mouse!

Don't think I have ever heard of him

[I'm shocked, stunned, flabbergasted as I write] Now I think you're messing with me! It was on Nickelodeon, right after You Can't Do that on Television (or somewhere around there anyway)...White Mouse with an eye patch and an English accent, doing super-spy stuff with his little hamster pal, Penfold, who was always falling over and saying "Coor, cheif!"

You have to remember this...

Okay, so I am totally laughing at you because this is not ringing any bells, and I am kind of thinking you are crazy........

Just strange the things you was a daily ritual for us for a couple of years at least, and she doesn't have the foggiest idea what I'm talking about.

Okay, so my sister can't help me. So I turn to you, loyal reader. At least one of you remembers this classic. I know it. Help me describe the show in a way that my wife will let me get this DVD set.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Quote of the Day

There is none like Christ, none like Christ, none like Christ.... There is no learning nor knowledge like the knowledge of Christ; no life like Christ living in the heart by faith; no work like the service, the spiritual service of Christ; no reward like the free-graces wages of Christ; no riches nor wealth like "the unsearchable riches of Christ"; no rest, no comfort, like the rest, the consolation of Christ; no pleasure like the pleasure of fellowship with Christ. Little as I know of Christ, I would not exchange the learning of one hour's fellowship with Christ for all the liberal learning in ten thousand universities, during ten thousand ages, even though angels were to be my teachers.

--John Brown of Haddington

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The Face of Baseball

This is quite the write-up...gotta make my kids memorize this.

Monday, June 06, 2005


Phil Johnson has started blogging...the universe as we know it is over. Yay!!!!

It's a daily must read me.

Checkin' In

Been sick the last few days, so not much energy to post (and unable to sit in front of this box much, too.) Sick with what? No idea, really. Handful of theories, no evidence to support them, and no apparant willingness on the part of the on-call docs at the clinic to follow up (my doc is on vacation, alas).

Have had the chance to read some--nothing really worthwhile and edifying. Finished The Poet by Connelly (WOW!); read Double Play by Parker in one sitting (not bad, but not as good as the blurbs on the cover says, as Gerald So indicated); finished off Peter David's trilogy featuring everyone's favorite secondary character in Tong Lashing (some great moments, disappointing ending); and continue to plow my way through The Last Disciple by Hannegraaff and Brouwer (ugh! I really want to like this book, but the authors aren't helping me much).

Watched 2 movies: Meet the Fokkers (funny) and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (looked great...well, let's just leave it at that, shall we?).

Watched some TV: nothing worth remarking is summer. Oh, saw the end of the Monk re-run from Season 2 where he was in prison, that was nice.

I fully intend on blogging more on The Poet and Tong Lashing...we'll see if I get around to it.

Footnote: I find it slightly amusing that blogger's spell check suggests "answerable" for "Hannegraaff"

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Okay, was shooting for something more deep to be my next post, but I gotta do this one.

One of the coolest looking trailers I've seen in ages is this one for Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly, based on the Philip K. Dick novel. Basically live-action anime. w00t. Here it is.

And I can't remember if I blogged this or not, if I did, oops. If I didn't, shame on me. This looks absolutely gorgeous.