Monday, April 30, 2007

Wagner Weekend

Before Lois takes the kids and leaves me for a summer in sunny Venezuela, we are going away together on a tryst this weekend. Racked with indecision as to where we should go, I coyly suggested that we could go hear the Charlotte Orchestra and Oratorio perform Wagner: Outside of the Ring. "After all," I added, "Rodney is singing in it."

Well, she didn't like that idea. The beach or the mountains, perhaps? Jackie Dahl called me into the kitchen at church this past Saturday and asked me to pick a hand.

After I picked one of mine she said, "No, Silly, one of mine!"

I selected the one she had predesignated for the beach. "That does it," she declared! "You two are going to the beach."

I blithely suggested that we would spend most of the time traveling. "We could go to the Biltmore House," I suggested. "We haven't been there since you were pregnant with Hope."

"Maybe," Lois said. The prices I found are a little outside the budget.

"There's always Wagner," I reminded her.

She rolled her eyes.

That night she came to me and said, "If you really want to, we can go hear Wagner."

I reserved my excitement. "Are you sure? I want you to enjoy this weekend, too."

"Sure," she said. "Maybe it won't be too bad."

Woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!

In looking up the tickets, I also discovered that The Manhattan Transfer (TMT) was paying Charlotte a rare visit in October. Oh, joy!!! Lois explicitly said that she wasn't going, however. I asked the kids and played some recordings of TMT for them. I even sang along with what I sang of theirs in college and played some video footage I have of them cutting up in the studio. No dice. Hope was excited and wanted to dance around like they were doing in the video, but when I got to a blues song, she was not happy about going. Any takers to join me for some TMT in October?


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Introspection, V-GER and the Image of God

Self-awareness is a trait associated with such as the intelligence and free will that set humans apart from the rest of creation. However, I have often bemoaned the inability of people in general to fail to understand their motivations, for such is the power of the lie that seprates us from God, leads us to sin, and keeps our minds clouded from the truth. Therefore, it would seem reasonable to conclude that introspection is a good thing. Introspection is how we maintain our self-awareness and learn to understand our motivations so we can eradicate the internal conflicts that plague us.

Pastor Mark Lauterbach over at GospelDrivenLife has written a brief series on the Beauty of Christ where he acknowledges the value of introspection, but also the folly of introspection that takes our eyes off Christ. After all, introspection without the Light of God is merely peering into the darkness.

This said, I'll demonstrate tempered self-centeredness and focus on myself briefly. I'm what the old folks call "spirited". I've always been marginally hyperactive and have had attention deficit and related memory problems such that my third grade teacher called me "The Absent-Minded Professor". The "Professor" part referrs to my apparent intellectual precocity. I had said I wouldn't bring it up anymore, but I have a relevant point here. I've been askd if I know my IQ. I can honestly say that I don't. I've been tested somewhat, but unconclusively.I once made as low as 115 on a dubious international test. However, most of my scores are above 170 on tests that generally don't test more than 175. One wonders about demographical cross-sections and proper statistical sampling for any of these tests especially when you get to the point where the data range is too small for any sample size to produce accurate results. If my introspective balance is off by much, I'll be continually distracted by my own thoughts and daydream myself into ill-effectiveness.

Such as it is, I'm certainly not infallible and some of the simplest trivial items escape my awareness. Because of this, much of my introspection is geared toward trying to communicate with "normal" people. I often percieve little difference between communicating with adults and children. Children tend to be more honest about it. There is a patter I notice primarily within adults that often irks me. The tendency for most people is to think that everyone ought to think like them. If someone else is more intelligent, then this person merely has more "book knowledge". If someone else is less intelligent, then they are often derided as an "idiot". The value of a person is often ascribed to their capacity to impose their thinking on others. As one who may be hyper-intelligent I doubt my capacity to impart my understanding because I've observed that I'm oft misconstrued. Therefore, exceptional intelligence is typically obscured by social inaccesibility. I live life in benign condescention. Hold that thought because I have another to add...

As a young fan of Star Trek, I was excited back in the late 1970s to learn of the filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture on the heals of Star Wars. I got to see all the characters I got to know in re-runs come back to the screen in a new story. The new Captain of the Enterprise was taking the newly refitted Enterprise out for her maiden voyage with Admiral Kirk and all the old crew aboard. There was trouble entering Federation Space and heading for Earth. A giant cloud was destroying anything in its path as it approached and the Enterprise was called on to investigate. Inside the cloud was this monstrous vessel. A living machine, if machines could live.At the heart of the machine was a simple little device: one of the Voyager space probes launched from Earth. The name marked on the side had been worn and only the letters VGER remained visible. V'ger had been discovered by a planet of machines where it was fitted with the vast machinery and intelligence necessary to complete its mission: to gather information and return it to its creator. Once the crew investigated the insides of the cloud and had discovered this very simple probe was at the heart of it, V'ger disclosed that its purpose was to join with its creator. I'll end the summary there.

Introspectively, I suggest that despite my socialization, I am not terribly unlike others. Any physical, sociological, intellectual, or other machinery that makes me who I am surrounds a simple nugget of my existence: I have been given the mark of my Creator. All of us have. It has been marred and damaged. Of myself, I have not the capacity to accomplish my mission, which is to return to my Creator. Unlike V'ger, we are not alone. Are we tempted to deride others for not being able to think just like us? Are some people idiots or inconsequential bookworms? These people have value. The people who appear to me to have the greatest value are the weakest, for in them can be seen the image of God the clearest. Theologian Henri Nouwen found the greatest theological fulfillment caring for Adam, a mentally handicapped man, in his final years at L'Arche. If we seek to be joined with God, we cannot be flippantly dismissive of those we deem to be of lesser mind than ourselves, for in such individuals can God be most evident.

Do we seek God? We must seek Him in service to others. If I can do it, so can you.

Matthew 25:31-46

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

How Well Do You Love?

Let me start off with some fun stuff from Blogthings. Then I'll have some more serious commentary afterward. As a disclaimer, these are not necessarily accurate, but I'm having fun with them...

Your Five Variable Love Profile
Propensity for Monogamy:

Your propensity for monogamy is medium.
In general, you prefer to have only one love interest.
But it's hard for you to stay devoted for too long! [actually, I'm intensly loyal]
There's too much eye candy to keep you from wandering. [it's not "eye candy" that attracts me]

Experience Level:

Your experience level is high.
You've loved, lost, and loved again.
You have had a wide range of love experiences.
And when the real thing comes along, you know it!


Your dominance is low.
This doesn't mean you're a doormat, just balanced.
You know a relationship is not about getting your way.
And you love to give your sweetie a lot of freedom.


Your cynicism is low.
You are an eternal optimist when it comes to love and romance.
No matter how many times you've been hurt - you're never bitter.
You believe in one true love, your perfect soulmate. [How does this comport with the monogamy thing above?]
And if you haven't found true love yet, you know you will soon.


Your independence is low.
This doesn't mean you're dependent in relationships..
It does mean that you don't have any problem sharing your life.
In your opinion, the best part of being in love is being together. [Yes!!!!!]

Your Psyche is Green [I was hoping for Purple!!!!]
You radiate love, empathy, and acceptance.
You are able to relax almost everyone you meet. You are naturally comforting. [Too often I just make people nervous.]
Balanced and flexible, you only seem perfect!

When you are too green: you are jealous, manipulative, and deceptive [I swore off being manipulative in High School]

When you don't have enough green: you feel sluggish and out of sorts

Your Love Type: INFJ
The Protector

In love, you strive to have the perfect relationship.
[Why not?]
For you, sex is nearly a spiritual experience, a bonding of souls. [Amen!]

Overall, you have high expectations for any relationship you're in.
However, you tend to hold back a part of yourself. [I have to. Who can handle all of me at once? Besides, I'd just be full of myself if I let loose. Gotta give it all to the other person.]

Best matches: ENTP and ENFP

You Are 50% Passionate, 50% Compassionate
You possess an ideal balance of passion and compassion.
You definitely can get swept away and lose your head a little. [A Little?!?!?!?!?]
But you're rarely a fool for love! [Ahem. Too often a fool for love is more like it...]

You Are A Realistic Romantic
It's easy for you to get swept away by romance... [Yup...]
But you've done a pretty good job keeping perspective.
You're still taken in by love poems and sunsets [Absolutely... Anyone ever read Song of Solomon?]
You just don't fall for every dreamy pick up line! [Who needs a pick up line? I vote for a tickle fight...]

Your Kissing Technique Is: Perfect
[Woo-hoo!!! My wife can confirm this... Honey? Honey? Stop laughing...]
Your kissing technique is amazing - and you know it.
You have the confidence to make the first move.
And you always seem to know what kissing style is going to work best.
Sometimes you're passionate, sometimes you're a tease. And you're always amazing!

It's easy to love the lovable.
Scroll down and stop salivating over the little romantic pictures...
I said...

It's easy to love the lovable.

Here's a quote:

"We only love Christ as much as the person we love the least."

I don’t remember where I heard this quoted recently. It may have been on a Xanga blog or one of the other Christian source blogs I peruse regularly. However, I’ve been pondering it with respect to some of what I read in the Bible about true love. I have to wonder how much I truly love Christ. Psalm 116 begins with the statement “I love the Lord…” How could the psalmist write this honestly? I think about John 14:15, look inside my heart, and recognize that I do not have enough love in my heart for perfect obedience. Does any of us? If we don’t have perfect obedience, then does it not follow that we wouldn’t have perfect love?

Peter learned his lesson. He said, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away… Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” He ate his words.

Was Christ not lovable enough for Peter to love Him to the extreme? Ah. So we have trouble loving even the most lovable.

How then can we resonate with Psalm 116 and fulfill John 14:15? The fun "love" tests that resulted in the "blogthings" above seem as they are: shallow, material, and self-centered. If I have made a decision FOR Christ, what decision have I made? I have noticed improvement in my spiritual development. However, I have not arrived at a point where I can say, "I love the Lord" and mean it perfectly.

Nevertheless, He loves me enough to die on the cross for me. He chose me. I have nothing but to be grateful. I cannot be grateful unless I admit that I have not loved Him enough, for if I have loved Him enough then there is something I can boast about. He loves me and I desire it. In spite of myself, my gratitude opens me up to occasionally show the love of Christ to others. This is the Holy Spirit of God at work. In the meek and lowly I see the mark of my Lord and I desire Him. I reach down and lift up. I love the Lord.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Do We Really Do Missions for the Experience?

I tell people at church that my wife and kids are going to Venezuela for the whole summer and they typically rejoice that they are able to minister in this way. However, most often when I tell fellow Christians outside my church, they typically respond with, “Well, that will be a good experience for them.” I don’t understand this. We’re not going for the experience! We’re going to plant, water, and harvest – whatever it takes to fulfill the Great Commission. How do you convey a vision for missions, whether at home or abroad? Why don’t many Christians “get it”?

I suggest that during the sweet years of American culture when most people were nominally Christian, there wasn’t the persecution enough to keep the church on her toes. Only now when the political climate is getting hot against Christianity in the West is the church starting to awaken. Sadly, it may be too late. We’ve had missionaries all over the world and there is still work to be done. The church in South Korea has become a great witness and has been faithful to send missionaries that rival, if not exceed, the contribution of missions in the West. The next great source of missionaries is China and India. There is an effort started in China to send missionaries westward back toward Israel and take the gospel to the people who have traditionally been the most hostile toward the gospel. This is not just a good experience. This is a matter of life, death, and eternal life.

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Who Do Terrorists Want in the Oval Office?

Fundamentally, terrorism is not about winning wars. It's about affecting political change. What political change do terrorists hope to gain in the US? There are a couple I can think of: 1) Diminish support for Israel. 2) Ultimately impose sharia law in the US. As for sharia law, they don’t want us to know that this is their goal. Most terrorists believe that this is the goal. The instigators actually desire power – not unlike every other despot that has tried to rule the world. Sharia law is a convenient way to accomplish this because it provides a ready motivation for a subversive army of religious zealots.

Therefore, terrorism is an attempt to establish a global oligarchy disguised as a theocracy. To this end, they probably don’t care if a liberal or a conservative is in office at the moment. A liberal is less willing to put up a fight and they can accomplish more damage by appealing in our own court system. However, without a fight, they lose the imperative that direct terrorism affords. They attacked during the Clinton administration, but it didn’t amount to much. They attacked during the Bush administration and they quickly had everyone’s attention. So, if a liberal is in office, they may primarily lobby, debate and sue and occasionally attack. If a conservative is in office, they may primarily attack and occasionally lobby, debate and sue.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Eschatology and Devotion

I just found this on GodTube:

The song is called "The Midnight Cry". It's not my favorite arrangement of the piece, but it's still a good song. The video has some incredible graphics and some powerful images. I must admit, that after having been a pre-mil pre-tribber for many years, I can say that I'm not. As I read and study more my understanding is currently tending toward pre-wrath or post trib. The best I can say for sure, is to pray for pre-trib and plan for post-trib. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, fret not. There's not enough scriptural clarity to be dogmatic about any of these positions. I have another point that I do want to make: the devotional aspect of eschatology.

My 11-year-old son, Luke, has been devouring the children's versions of The Left Behind series. Has he come away with a dogmatic position for a pre-trib rapture? No. What he has come away with is an observation that he needs to be more serious with his devotional life. What a blessing to hear this from an 11-year-old. I know adults who could take a lesson from this. Whether it's the rapture or an unexpected mortality, can we say that we have been preparing our hearts for the Kingdom of God?

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Friday, April 20, 2007

A Significant Life

Do you sometimes feel as though you go through life trying to do your best for God, yet relatively unnoticed?

This weekend, I'm participating in a play at church entitled, "A Significant Life." It was written by our own Katie Hatchet. A lady named Mary Brandon who has labored in relative obscurity in her church has passed away. We hear about her from an otherwise unconcerned couple who go to church with her as they sit and watch a news and entertainment program featuring great people who have also recently passed away. Among these is a senator whose life has been transformed, a US soldier who died heroically in Iraq, a great Olympic athlete from Russia and a famous football star who had become an associate pastor. At the end, we learn how these people are Mary's great legacy. I play one of the newscasters and sing the final song, "Faces", as Mary stands among the saints whose eternal lives were due in part to God working through Mary's faithful life. The lyrics of the song I sing sum up the play nicely:


I dreamed my life was done
And I stood before God's Son
It was time to see what my reward would be
With love He reviewed my life
To count what was done for Christ
For that was what would last eternally

See I'd done my best to share
that Jesus really cares
And He would save if they would just believe
Oh but seldom did harvest come
So few did I see won
Until the Lord said, "Turn around and see."

Then He showed me the faces of the ones who'd come because of me
So many faces that my life had led to Calvary
All those years I though nobody saw as I labored in lonely places
That's when Jesus smiled and showed me all the faces.

He said, "Though you did not see the yield"
"You were faithful to plow the field"
"And other times you helped me plant the seed"
"No matter how small the task"
"You did just as I ask"
"And thanks to you these souls have been set free"


And for those years you thought nobody saw as you labored in lonely places
One day He'll smile and show you all the faces
You'll see their faces

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Copy Cats

It's a "tragedy" (like Euripides wrote) that this demoniacally influenced perpetrator murdered over 30 people in Virginia. Expect to hear more of the politicization regarding gun control laws. It was a duly armed citizen that stopped him. What I'm hearing otherwise is alarming. President Bush, the South Korean government and other nations and people groups from all over the globe are expressing their condolences, etc. This guy is generating some serious copy in the newsrooms. All I have to say is beware the copy cats who seek to make a similar impact with their death. They are martyrs for evil.

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Should Church Be For The Saved Or The Unsaved?

There’s a little debate going on over at GodTube about the validity of having a site that is explicitly “Christian” as though to say that God approves of it.

Russ Seehafer kicked off with this video entitled “Why is Stupid”:

Doug Eaton retorted with this video entitled “Why May NOT Be So Stupid”:

The debate hinges on the balance between what it means for Christians to be “in” the world but not “of” the world. Seehafer’s argument essentially asserts that having a site like GodTube is separatist and draws a Christian witness away from sites like YouTube. Eaton replies that Christians need a safe place to go – not to withdraw from posting on YouTube, but to have a place to find Christian material without dealing with all the anti-Christian sentiment at YouTube.

The debate brings to mind a line of questioning I’ve pondered about the nature of the worship services of local congregations. It is quite obvious that different churches take a different line of reasoning on the balance between the edification of the body and the use of worship and preaching in the service for evangelism. On one end you may have the puritans who open teaching in the service up to anyone with the assumption that they are already Christian and are properly motivated by the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, you may find churches where worship has devolved into mere entertainment and teaching of cheap grace for the purpose of attracting “seekers”. A large high-profile church in a neighboring city has experienced an alarming shift in this regard. The founding pastor recently stepped down due to declining health. He had built the church on solid meaty teaching. The pastor that the congregation found to replace him has decidedly changed the focus of mass worship and preaching to a more “seeker-friendly” format. The message from the pulpit is noticeably milky rather than meaty and the worship has become increasingly entertainment-oriented.

There are finer factors that need to be considered. To begin with, children attend who yet need to be evangelized. One primary consideration here is that the parents should be doing this in the home. But the idea that the people sitting in the pews are at different levels of spiritual maturity. A word spoken, a concept given, will approach each differently. For some, it may be something they have never before heard or considered. For others, it will be a good reminder of something they need to maintain spiritually. The progression from spiritual immaturity to spiritual maturity is part of our sanctification. For each of the elect, one matures to the point where his eternal condition is manifest in a moment of salvation. Within the church, the means by which God accomplishes this is by providing an atmosphere of interaction with the Truth as revealed in the Bible that exceeds one’s current level of maturity. Therefore, the difference between a service oriented toward believers and a watered-down service oriented toward “seekers” is a false dichotomy.

This would seem to settle the debate. However, there is an element of needing to engage people from diverse backgrounds. (As for the kinist argument that everyone should just stay in their own group, we know that Paul himself planted cross-cultural churches. The most basin lesson from I Corinthians is that cross-cultural fellowship done right glorifies God.) The level at which we tailor worship and message for diverse people and yet seek to transcend differences and establish a unified vision of the Kingdom of God is yet a matter for clarity. Arguably, each congregation is called to a particular ministerial focus depending on the dynamics of membership and leadership that God has placed. So the levels may be different yet.

So the questions I have remaining are:

1)      What is the appropriate balance?

2)      What are the necessary considerations for determining that balance?

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Made In the Image of God – Just Another Speculation

From Genesis 1:

26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

There has been much speculation as to what qualities of God has He duplicated in us that important enough for Him to have seen fit to comment here in scripture that He made us in His image. And speculation it is. We are given no real clues for a defensible answer and yet there is no shortage of opinions.

For example, one can consider that God is one God in three persons: The Father Who is the visionary, the Son Who is the visible manifestation, and the Spirit Who is the motivator. Well, one may notice, man can be broken similarly into three parts: the spirit of a man is receptive to God and other spiritual forces that motivate us, the mind of a man is rational and can develop and implement plans and visions, the body of a man is the part of the man we see and can detect. This seems like a likely candidate as to how we are like God. However, a trichotomic view of man has a modified hierarchy than the Trinitarian formula we can derive from scripture. Most importantly, this view of man in the image of God is completely absent in this passage and is therefore exegetically completely unsupported. And it’s a stretch to consider that God referring to Himself in the plural is some indication that this is what the passage means.

Here are some other examples:

Man is like God in that we are intelligent.

Man is like God in that we have volition.

No, these aren’t supported here either.

God does talk about creating and then he goes on to mention that He created us “male and female” after which He issued the edict to be fruitful and multiply. Perhaps procreation is how we are like God. Of course we give that up when we leave this world for the next. In that case we would no longer be in the image of God. That doesn’t seem likely.

Oh! How about this one: God gave us dominion. He has ultimate authority and gave us a little authority. That’s in the passage. We are also told that we will reign with Him in the next world. The hermeneutical link is a little weak, because it would also seem to hold true for the “male and female” phrase. Unless we are prepared to say that God is male and female, we may want to consider that the weak link just isn’t strong enough.

As an aside, all that I have mentioned thus far are contingent to scale. We appear to possess no qualities in the same magnitude as similar qualities of God, and that includes our volition.

Here is another concept that just occurred to me as I type. This actually seems the most likely and would not be mutually exclusive from other direct comparisons between God and man. God creating man knew that He would be incarnate in the Son of Man. Therefore, His plan was for mankind in a sinless state to be an accurate representation of God.

Now, it has been debated whether God would have become incarnate if man had not fallen. It has also been debated whether the possibility even ever existed for man not to fall. In order for you to follow my answer to this as well as understand the speculation I have regarding another way we may be mad ein the image of God, you have to read and understand two key concepts I have elaborated on before. The first is the logical disparity between eternity and temporality. That is to say that the univalence of God devolves into paradox when viewed through the bivalent lens of our temporal reason. The other is the multiplicity of our motivations. That is to say that we have many sets of competing inclinations fed by a variety of physical and spiritual drives within a cognitive context shaped by our senses and perceptions.

The way that univalence devolves into paradox is through multipicitous iterations of the core substantive univalent truth creating a bivalent dimension to exist between iterations. In other words, once the truth is manifest multiple times, each iteration has it's separate identity which defines a bivalent system. It's a simple concept that has no simple way to say it. We are in the image of God in this way that we have the capacity to take a single basic presupposition and apply it to different contexts to derive conflicting inclinations. The reason is that basic presuppositions tend to be absolute and context tends to be temporal. The process is essentially the same for one thing: God needs no context.

So what about the incarnation? The way for a univalently absolute God to create temporal bivalence is to become incarnate in this creation. Therefore, I argue that God's creative intent involved the incarnation and the pattern of man was created to provide a suitable vessel for the incarnation. Inasmuch as God creates bivalence from univalence, He would create bivalent man with the capacity to harbor a univalent presupposition and derive apparently conflicting inclinations.

When doing philosophy from a Christian worldview, it’s important to recognize how one’s philosophy comports with scripture. That said, understand that my musing here doesn’t have any more scriptural basis than any of the other speculations on how we are made in the image of God. However, I believe I haven’t contradicted any scripture. Nevertheless, I prevail upon any who read this to check whether my thinking comports with scripture. Please let me know if you find otherwise.

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The Worship of the Lord Around the World

I've been playing around with GodTube. The video quality is better than on Xanga and it also serves as a quick and ready source for Christian content. The reason I'm telling you about this is because I found this amazing mission oriented music video there by Rabbi Andrew. It has a Jewish flavor, but is quite Messianic (Christian). Just watch to see people worship God in many different ways around the world. Look for the face of the lady praying. I can smell the sweet aroma of praise as it rises unto our Father. The song is called:

Hallelu et Adoni

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

From 12 Witnesses: Interview with Sam Storms

12 Witnesses is one of the plethora of Southern Baptist blogs. They interviewed Dr. Sam Storms recently in anticipation of his speaking contribution to the Baptist Conference on the Holy Spirit to be held in Arlington, Texas, in three weeks. He gave some rather balanced answers to the line of questioning. Below are some of the more interesting questions that were asked. You can read his answers here.

  • Where do you see the tension over Reformed theology going in the SBC?
  • The claim has been made, specifically by Dr. Malcolm Yarnell of SWBTS, that there is NO Biblical evidence for the existence of a “Private Prayer Language.” How do you respond? What Scriptures do you think are relevant to the discussion of such a claim?
  • What do you say to the claim that the acceptance of a “Private Prayer Language” among our missionaries is allowing an influx of Pentecostal theology?
  • How do you see the debate over moderation concerning the consumption of alcohol? Do you see a disparity in the approach to the alcohol issue and other issues under debate?
  • What are your thoughts on the Traditional church, the Missional church and the Emergent church?

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Resurrection Greetings

Curse Ishtar...

We're celebrating the resurrection of Christ!

I would wish God to bless you, but He already has. He has come to earth in the person of His Son, Jesus the Christ. He has not only paid the penalty for sin, but has won the victory over death.

Rejoice and praise the LORD for what He has done!

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Death in the Line of Duty

I’ve been distancing myself from political commentary, but I couldn’t resist this one. The big news in the Charlotte Metrolina is the death of two police officers in the line of duty.

I stopped by to visit my parents on the other side of town and they were watching the hours-long live coverage of the funeral. Of course, our tragic local news media tragically overused, if they used it once, to the tragic word “tragic” to describe the anything-but-tragic deaths of these police officers. As you may know, the only reason they use the word is part of the emotional appeal to the viewers. Why the appeal? Ratings? Whatever the reason, the fact that the appeal works at all illustrates that death yet has a grip on this world.

I didn’t watch that much of the funeral. Yup, it’s a funeral. Yup, he’s dead. Yup, it’s sad. Doesn’t anyone realize that the death rate is 100%? It had to happen sometime. I kept thinking about how the media touts the deaths of American troops in Iraq as an obviously fallacious argument for running from there with our tails between our proverbial legs. By the same logic, we would have to conclude that we should now withdraw the police force from Charlotte, NC, so that no more police officers die.

I can hear the argument now: “But Iraq is over there and has to do with people other than ourselves. Charlotte is our own place to worry about. The Iraqis should be the ones to defend themselves. Anyway, it’s a civil war and they’d be fighting their own people. We shouldn’t be there because of this.” This argument would be made by otherwise staunch internationalists who love the U.N. and would just as soon there be one big socialist world government. In this respect, these would be our people and we, who are so rich and should support the rest of the world should be providing the apparently abundant American resources to keep the peace in just another neighborhood of the great world state.

So why don’t liberals see the obvious contradiction in their own positions? Truth be told, we’re not in a world government yet and with so many conservatives around to prevent this occasion, the only way liberals see the demise of American nationalism is to weaken our military position. To cut and run is to encourage other countries to come here to attack us. It’s happened and can happen again.

They may return the argument that conservatives are nationalistic, favoring local governments over federal ones and that we shouldn’t be inclined to defend other than our own localities. Actually, the World Wars proved otherwise to us. With the rise of internationalism, coming to the aid of other localities for the purpose of helping the people there maintain self-government in the face of the threat of international control is an activity that has become quite necessary for us. Our own civil war ended with the preservation of our federal union which paradoxically has made us strong enough to do this.

The struggle between nationalism and internationalism has a parallel in our Christian denominations. Internationalism can be seen as somewhat parallel to hierarchical denominational government while nationalism can be seen as somewhat parallel to congregational government. Apostate movements have apparently had a much greater impact on hierarchical governments than congregational governments because apostates with intent have sought control in key hierarchical offices. In this way, sweeping denominational policies can be affected by only a very few compromising the correlation between doctrinal truth and practice. Once that happens, truth falls handily as true doctrine is no longer practiced, for knowledge of the truth is not the end of truth. Practice (or application by another name) is the next step, for in the practice of true doctrine through the transformation of our hearts is God glorified.

So, in the death of America's finest is set the battle for the hearts and minds of Americans. Likewise, Christ Himself died in the line of duty...

...and therein the battle was won.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Human Leadership in a Fallen World

What I’ve noticed about human leadership is that we all function with limited knowledge. Human leadership is when one draws conclusions from ignorance and bullies, guilts or persuades others to do what one has determined needs to be done. All this stuff about “vision” and “purpose” are platitudes that serve to help the leader convince himself and his subordinates that there is a higher reason for their actions.

Except… where leaders operate under the authority of another.

And no human leaders are truly autonomous.

We are all subject to higher authority. The CEO of a corporation has a board to answer to. The board has stockholders. The owner of a private company has government regulations. A leader at the very least is held sway by the lives of his subjects. If they die, he is no longer their leader. In any case, we are all ultimately subject to our Creator. We are either dominated by our propensity to sin and are filled by demonic influence as limited by God or we are filled by God’s Holy Spirit.

That said: God works through fallen human leaders despite our stubborn ignorance.

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