Monday, February 27, 2006

Christianity Not a New Religion

(yeah, yeah, another post not by me...soon)

It is a great mistake to say that Christianity, as over against the old dispensation, was a "new religion"; indeed, it is a mistake to say that Christianity is a religion at all, among other religions. On the contrary, there is just one revealed religion, and the revelation that is at the basis of it is recorded in both the Old and New Testament. The Old Testament saints were saved in just the same way as that in which the New Testament saints are saved--namely, by the death of Christ--and the mans by which the Spirit of God applied to them the benefits of Christ's death was exactly the same as the means by which the same Spirit applies those benefits to Christians today--namely, faith. The Old Testament saints, like Christians today, received the gospel of the grace of God; and, like the New Testament saints, they received it by faith. The only difference is that the gospel was proclaimed to the Old Testament saints by way of promise, while to us it is proclaimed by way of narrative of what has already been done. Immediately after the Fall of man, the plan of God for salvation began to be executed--with the promise contained in Gen 3:15--and the men who are saved in accordance with that plan are not adherents of "a religion" among other religions; they are not men who have built upon a common human fund of "religion" certain special religions known as "Judaism" and "Christianity," but they are men to whom God has supernaturally revealed and supernaturally applied His saving work. That one revealed "religion" does not differ form the religions of mankind merely in degree; its supremacy does not consist even in being the one perfect religion as over against the imperfect ones; but it is different from the religions of mankind because, while they represent man's efforts to find God, this "religion" is built upon the sovereign and gracious and entirely unique act by which God found man and saved him from the guilt and power of sin.
--J. Gresham Machen

Sunday, February 26, 2006

History of Religion

The Scribbler was so struck by this observation by Terry Johnson she read to me today:

The whole history of religion is a history of idolatry: God conceived of falsely and worshipped wrongly. It does not encourage us to think highly of our ability to get things right.
Hopefully she'll comment a little on it--and not just because she really needs to post something--I find it quite profound

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Good reminder

Nothing new here, but needs to be said again:

But only the shallowest reading of the Epistles can possibly lead a man to think that the Apostle’s appeal to the Old Testament was merely an argumentative device--useful in defeating the Judaizers but not valuable in the Apostle’s own mind. Nothing could be further form the fact. As a matter of fact, to Paul as well as to our Lord Jesus Himself, the written Word of God was decisive in all controversy. People who make "the teachings of Christ" instead of the whole Bible the seat of authority in religion are doing despite to the teachings of Christ themselves; and people who make what they wrongly call "the living Spirit," in opposition to the written Word, an independent source of our knowledge of God are dong despite to that blessed Holy Spirit by whose gracious ministration the written Word has been given unto men. Let it never be forgotten that the real source of life for the Church is the holy Book; when the Church seeks life apart from the Book, as it is doing today, then it always faces, as it faces today, a terrible loss of power. If the Bible were rediscovered, as it was rediscovered at the time of the Reformation, we should have in the church today the same new life as that which then set the world aflame.
--J. Gresham Machen

Friday, February 24, 2006

Shall I Call It?

Not dead yet. Just very, very busy. Have many things to say. Just no time.

Hopefully next week. Stay tuned for some fun, some theology, some baptism, and who knows what?

This reminds me of a scene from one of my favorite movies, can't resist posting the dialogue (thanks to google, don't have to type it):
The Dead Collector: Bring out yer dead.
[a man puts a body on the cart]
Large Man with Dead Body: Here's one.
The Dead Collector: That'll be ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: What?
Large Man with Dead Body: Nothing. There's your ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
Large Man with Dead Body: Yes he is.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not.
The Dead Collector: He isn't.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm getting better.
Large Man with Dead Body: No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.
The Dead Collector: Well, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I don't want to go on the cart.
Large Man with Dead Body: Oh, don't be such a baby.
The Dead Collector: I can't take him.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I feel fine.
Large Man with Dead Body: Oh, do me a favor.
The Dead Collector: I can't.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, can you hang around for a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
The Dead Collector: I promised I'd be at the Robinsons'. They've lost nine today.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, when's your next round?
The Dead Collector: Thursday.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I think I'll go for a walk.
Large Man with Dead Body: You're not fooling anyone, you know. Isn't there anything you could do?
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I feel happy. I feel happy.
[the Dead Collector glances up and down the street furtively, then silences the Body with his a whack of his club]
Large Man with Dead Body: Ah, thank you very much.
The Dead Collector: Not at all. See you on Thursday.
Large Man with Dead Body: Right.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Momentary Burst of Enlightenment

Kim Riddlebarger has long been my favorite White Horse Inn host (despite his eschatological writings), but I could never put my finger on exactly why.

Now I can.


I want to say something about last night's episode of Bones, which might lead to a discussion of character development in fiction (esp. if the literary type lurkers would speak out). But after what happened last week, I just don't feel comfortable doing that.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Coming sooner...

New York Yankees Reporting Dates:
Pitchers & Catchers: Tomorrow. And Jorge's already at it--who da man?
First Workout: Feb. 17
Position Players: Feb. 21
First full workout: Feb. 22 -- Oh, to be in Tampa next week!

Meanwhile, over at SI, Tom Verducci makes a compelling case to make Jeter the lead-off man, not Damon. Easily the most thought provoking article I've read all week (says a lot about my week--tho' I expect rusty to fix that later on today).

Last, but not least, this from the "Are they Trying to Give me a Coronary?" Department:

Other teams, possibly including the Yankees, are watching to see what happens with Sammy Sosa and the Nationals.

Monday, February 13, 2006

10 yrs ago today

(about to the minute, iirc. Right after Final Jeopardy) The Scribbler told me she had nothing better to do for the next 60-70 years then to hang out with me.

Quite possibly the happiest moment of my life.

Then the M*A*S*H theme song started playing in the background. Good thing I don't believe in omens, 'cuz that title...(I don't believe in omens, do I?)

Love ya, honey.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Not Pro-Life Enough

Huckleberries Online pointed me to this article on the Idaho Statesman's website (for now, I'll pass up remarking on the strangeness of depending on a Spokane, WA based newspaper blog to keep me abreast of local politics).

A Canyon County anti-abortion activist and father of 16 says he's more than a month into a hunger strike that will end either with his death or the state adopting a law saying that human life begins with conception.
Is this man so addled that he doesn't see the utter hypocrisy of this?
[He and his wife have] attended a number of churches--Baptist, Nazarene, Assembly of God and others--— but their study of the Bible directs their daily lives. She drives him to appointments, brings him things he can't find because of his weakened eyesight, helps him up when he falls. She supports him in the hunger strike--even if it leads to his death.

"Whatever he has to do to serve the Lord, he has to do," she said. "I hate to give him up, but he has to serve the Lord."
How is this serving the Lord? Somebody tell me...where has God commanded that we kill ourselves as a type of extortion/blackmail? Am pretty sure the command reads:
You shall not murder (Exodus 20:13).
And that includes murder of self. You cannot take a stand for righteousness by sinning.

May God have mercy on this man, and wake him from this folly and rebellion.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Coming soon....

Pitchers and Catchers report next week. The rest of the roster soon after that.

April 3--Opening Day.

My goal is to have at least 2 of the three paper/essay/etc. that I have due this term done by than. (and maybe, mayyyybe, the 4 longer posts I've been working on for the last week, to)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Ed: the Next Generation

A few weeks ago, TV Guide's Matt Roush wrote:

No one dies in the pilot episode of the mid-season charmer Love Monkey..., and that has me worried. Can CBS and its audience embrace an hourlong show that dares to exist outside the world of the crime-drama procedural?
I laughed when I read that, and then I realized he's probably right. But, hang it all, I don't care. I'm going to enjoy this burst of creativity and diversity over on the Eye as long as it lasts.

Here's the set-up. Show centers around Tom Farrell--who's basically Ed Stevens--everyone's favorite bowling alley lawyer (and I'm not just saying that because Tom Cavanaugh plays him...but it helps)--except his job is less plausible, he's a record executive with an ear for talent.

Actually, I'm kidding a bit there. This show is a lot more plausible then Ed ever could've--or should've--been. The supporting characters (ex-NFL player sportscaster pal; token hip and black bud; plastic surgeon friend/brother-in-law; cute and platonic gal pal; sister) are just as quirky and witty, but not as strange. Not totally sold on all the supporting characters/cast, but I like them. Jason Priestly's plastic surgeon Mike Freed character is Judy Greer's Brandy are the exceptions there. Bang up job there. I can't believe I just said that about a 90210 alum. Gotta go take a shower...

Having Tom work in the music industry provides: a reason for a great soundtrack, some good characters--both for one-shot and longer stories--and some great cameos (LeAnn Rimes, Aimee Mann, and Ben Folds--ya!).

So far the one constant in the music industry is Tom's new find, Wayne, played by Teddy Geiger. Wayne's very, um, John Mayer-esque. But, unlike Mayer, I like to listen to him. Dunno how much of Geiger there is in Wayne. But if the real new artist's record sounds like the fictional artists...I'm all over it.

So, Love Monkey. Tuesdays on CBS before CSI:*.* No blood, no cool camera effects, no cops. Just nice people.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Two-Pronged Christianity, pt. 1

"Christianity," wrote J. Gresham Machen, "begins with a triumphant indicative." Christianity begins with an announcement, a proclamation—and not a proclamation to convince, to persuade or motivate. But a simple statement of facts: "that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures," (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

For Machen, this was the first mark that separated the religion of Biblical Christianity from the religion of Liberalism, which began with a series of tasks—exhortations to make the listener a better person. Machen saw that for what it truly is, a non-Christian religion.

No, Christianity begins in the indicative. It begins with news—and not just any news—but good news. "Good news," the phrase is at once a victim of both overuse and disregard. We hear the term so much it’s about as meaningful as ordering Small Diet Coke to go with your Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger. From time to time we must force ourselves to go back and think about what it is that makes this news so good.

That the thrice holy God, out of His won good pleasure and free grace sent His only Son into this sin-darkened and sin-loving world. That He delivered His Son into the power of men so that they might murder Him. That this shed blood would be a propitiation for the sins of those that God had known, loved and chosen before the foundation of the world. That God’s only Son, freely and willingly gave up the glory He possessed to come into this world, to be found in appearance as a man. To be despised, scorned, conspired against, persecuted, to teach those who wouldn’t understand, to teach those who would reject his instruction. To then lay down His life as a sacrifice for many, enduring the humiliation and pain of the Roman cross, and to die—reconciling us to God in His death. That three days later, he rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. That from His Father’s side, he sent the Holy Spirit to apply this redemption he accomplished to haters of God. That those to whom the Spirit applies this redemption, He gives faith and repentance unto life. That those chosen by the Father are called, justified, adopted and sanctified, and at the resurrection be made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God to all eternity.

This is the beginning. This is the foundation. Without this you have some system of moralism with Jesus Christ as chief exemplar. Without constant reference to this news in our preaching, teaching, thinking and meditation we will not be able to function as believers. We might be nice people, good neighbors, fine citizens…but we will not be Christians.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

One of those days...

Slow day around the house today, but have to get plugging away at various projects and can't get to the blog. Yesterday, was supposed to be a major homework and blogging kind of day--have 3 longer posts in the works...and, well, obviously nothing happened.

But I needed a little break from final preparation on my Sunday School lessons on the Muslim doctrine of God (what? I hear you all saying, tear yourself away from that?!?), so figured I'd give you a little insight into me. I'm often asked why I call this White Noise, instead of something more sanctified, or Latin. 1. Because I really like the novel quoted above. (sorry, bluewoad) 2. Because well, it describes my brain.

Eh? Howz that? You ask. Maybe the following two lists will give you some insight. If not, oh well, it gave me soemthing to do.

Current playlist:

  1. Short Skirt/Long Jacket - Cake
  2. It's the End of the World as we Know It - REM
  3. Take Me Away - Eowyn
  4. (Can't Get My) head Around You - The Offspring
  5. Took My Place - Third Day
  6. Right Now - Van Halen
  7. Mexico - Lost Dogs
  8. My Happy Ending - Avril Lavigne
  9. One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces - Ben Folds Five
  10. Adding to the Noise - Switchfoot
  11. Firefly Main Title
  12. California - Hawk Nelson
  13. Weather Girl - The Choir
  14. Taylor - Jack Johnson
  15. Superman's Song - Crash Test Dummies
  16. All Because - Tree 64
  17. Eight Easy Steps - Alanis Morissette
  18. About Love - The Choir
  19. Battlestar Galactica Main Title
Books that arrived on my doorstep within the last 24 hours:
  • Yahweh, Jehovah, or Allah--Which is God's Real name? - Shabir Ally
  • 101 Clear Contradictions in the Bible - Shabir Ally
  • The Qur'an - Translated by Abdullah Yusaf Ali
  • Wages of Spin - Carl A. Trueman
  • The Baptism of Disciples Alone - Fred Malone
  • Infant Baptism and the Covenant of Grace - Paul Jewett

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Geeking Out OPC-style

Just received the latest publication from the good people over at Solid Ground Christian Books--Notes on Galatians by J. Gresham Machen.

As always, nice publication. Good quality paperback, nicely formatted. And pretty darn cheap. Something that my formerly favorite reprint company could learn from (with all due respect to Mr. Kistler).

The bulk of the book are exegetical notes on Galatians 1:1 - 3:14, with some translation notes by the master, and misc. other things. This is gonna be a fun read :)

Beyond Paedo

When my then fiancĂ© and I first started attending the church we now belong to, we were warned by a well-intentioned relative that, "they baptize babies, you know." Well, yes, we did know that. We also knew this church would baptize teens, thirtysomethings, and octogenarians if opportunity presented itself. However hazy on the details, that warning does point to the general perception of the Presbyterian/Reformed view of the sacrament-—that we’re only focused on baptizing infants.

And, we must admit, all too often, we perpetuate the stereotype. Our conferences, books, tracts and other teaching materials focus all too often on words like "infant" or "paedo-" and feature cute pictures of smiling newborns and pastel colors. Of course, the name for our position, "paedobaptism" does not help either. I’m not sure when that label was first applied, but it was a mistake to let it stick. (I half-way expect polymathis to hit me with an answer to this in the comments).

Let’s take a quick look at the Reformed Confessional Standards. How much emphasis do they place on infant baptism?

  • It’s about ¼ of the Belgic Confession’s Article 24, "Holy Baptism"
  • The Heidelberg Catechism has 6 questions on Baptism, only 1 of which mentions infants
  • The Second Helvetic Confession devotes 1 of its 6 paragraphs on Baptism to the subject (in passing, I’d note that paragraph is against the Anabaptist position, not a positive teaching on the doctrine)
  • Our Larger Catechism mentions it in 1 of 3 questions
  • Our Confession gives one of its seven paragraphs on Baptism to the idea (with a passing reference in another)
It is also interesting to note that on the whole, the topic of infants is the last thing mentioned by the Reformation-era standards.

What’s the point of this survey? As Lyle Bierma wrote recently,
The proportion of space is significant. It suggests that from the perspective of the confessions, there is no such thing as a separate doctrine of infant baptism, only a doctrine of baptism—a baptism of which adults and infants alike are the legitimate recipients. Whether one is an adult being baptized after conversion or an infant being baptized before conversion, the situation is basically the same…Both are called to embrace those promises [of forgiveness and the Holy Spirit] by faith, the adult immediately, and the infant as he or she grows older. Both are saved, not by their baptism, but by God’s grace as they live in faith and obedience as members of the covenant community. The confessions speak of only one doctrine of baptism, therefore, because there is only one covenant, one people of God, one promise, one set of conditions, and one covenantal sing—for adults and children alike.
What really separates us from our baptistic brethren is not that they withhold baptism from their children; it is our doctrine of baptism. Who we consider to be the objects of baptism comes out of that, it does not determine it.

Some Rules (well, one) on Baptism Posts

Okay, I'm going to try something reckless here...I'm going to start an occasional series of posts on baptism. Now, I know a number of my readers are going to disagree with me on this stuff--not that there's anything wrong with that ("nothing at all," echoes George from across the table).

Here's the catch--we're not going to be having any extended baptism debates here. While I'm eager for them, I just don't have the time/energy for them right now. I'm tempted to not allow comments on them, but will keep them open to allow questions/clarifications/feedback. As soon as things get heated, I will delete comments. Maybe this summer I'll be up to it and will post some inflammatory words to get a debate going with those in the deep end of the pool.

New Journal

Jeff Downs has released first edition of the Countercult Apologetics Journal. Head on over and have a read--looks like some interesting stuff! Jeff was kind enough to ask me to do a review of that Robret Millet book I was live-blogging last summer before I got sick (and I don't think the two were related, but ya never know).

Speaking of Millet, he and Greg Johnson will be doing their thing again in Boise. Rodney King theology at its finest. At least this year I know about it weeks in advance, rather than months after the fact or too late to get it off work.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Cleaning up the Current Stuff

Okay, I know it's silly, but just about every blog has to have a "what am I reading/listening to/watching right now" section--it's a rule somewhere. And, as the conformist that I am, I've got it over there in the middle column, looking all pretty. Sadly, the books part hasn't changed much in months. Well, I'm throwing in the towel..I'm just never going to finish The Last Disciple by Hannegraaff and Brouwer or Tongues Aflame: Learning to Preach from the Apostles by Roger Wagner (well, not in the foreseeable future anyway). No disrespect to Wagner, pretty good book, but I can't seem to stay focused on it. And I just cannot force myself to finish the last 100 pages of Disicple. Horrible, horrible book. And I wanted to like it--the eschatology seems right (wow...what a concept), but the writing, the characters, the plots...I'd rather watch the last couple of seasons of ER or Reba.

As for music...not addicted to anything at the moment...any suggestions?

Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't add, that I'd like to put The Two-Minute Rule by Robert Crais and Sea Change by Robert B. Parker in that column. If you'd like to help keep things changing around here... :)