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Wednesday, August 30


Rushdoony gives a concise and helpful parsing of the postmodernism we live in today. It is easy to think that “postmodernism” is such a fancy and obtuse word that the “run-of-the-mill” Christian can’t possibly begin to understand his times. This article is a step at understanding your times in order to apply the cornerstone of the Gospel - so that uncertainty and foolhardy hubris doesn’t get the best of you.

Of particular notice is Rushdoony’s connection between the uncertainty offered by postmodernism and the health-wealth-prosperity blasphemies. Since people have become lazy in reading to rightly understand the Bible, they have slipped into a pit of despair. As a result, they have nothing to offer except some happy-go-lucky superficiality they pass off as Christianity.

In the end, consistent postmodernists will have to sit in the corner and drool or live like hell because there is no meaning. However, most postmoderns aren’t consistent, so they talk about how everyone is right and let’s stop fighting. Lah-tee-dah. Don’t talk to me about how postmodernism will answer my questions, because in the end it is nothing but a cover-up for sin. It loses itself in an ocean of relativity because it has not done the hard work of thinking and critiquing. We have become so enamored with who got kicked off the island on the latest “reality“ show than what is happening in reality!

In the final analysis, postmoderns insist that two plus two can equal five. It's a valid interpretation for certain groups, and you should not condemn them. Do they say this with certainty? If so, then they practically operate as if two plus two equals four. There is no reason to assume that simply because there are a multiplicity of beliefs that this somehow justifies pluralism. It rather demonstrates man's sinful creativity to cover himself in diverse philosophical disguises.

Please at least skim the article to be aware of the issues that postmodernism is built upon. Do yourself a favor: get a cup of joe in your local coffee shop, think about why someone would want to say that all beliefs are right, and talk to your neighbor as to why he thinks that all rivers lead to the same ocean.

The Whole Glory of God {Part 2}

Here is the second installment of John Piper’s series at the Reformission Conference in Seattle, WA in 2004.

Friday, August 25

Distinct Personality of the Spirit

The above title comes from a section in John Frame’s Doctrine of God. This book is highly worth the money (would that be considered a pun?)...Anyway, the data I am going to share here comes mostly from that and I want to offer some more info you can go to in order to understand the third person of the Trinity.

First of all, there is no necessary contradiction between saying that God is Three in One. The way the church fathers articulated it was: One essence, Three persons. As goodwillhiking mentioned in one of his comments, “It is good to live with mystery.”

With regards to mystery, it is right to say you live with the mystery as long as it is prescribed in Scripture. For example, I have spoken with several people that say they are comfortable living with contradictions. You shouldn’t be comfortable with contradictions. A contradiction is “logical incompatibility between two or more propositions” (acc. to Wikipedia). This is not the case with saying one essence, three persons.

With that said, now for the Holy Spirit. Frame: “We are often inclined to equate ‘spirit’ with the nonmaterial realm, so that it amounts to a force that animates matter. But spirits in Scripture, human as well as divine, are persons, not impersonal forces” (p. 691).


“The power of God is never impersonal. It is a power directed by God’s intelligent plan to accomplish his purposes...The Spirit has a ‘mind’ (Rom 8.27). Often it is quite impossible to substitute power for spirit (see, e.g. Acts 10.38; Rom 15.13; 1Cor 2.4). The Holy Spirit is not a mere power; he is the personal bearer of divine power” (italics original; 691)

Friday Foto

East & West

Taken in Lebanon this summer.

Thursday, August 24

Islam: Religion of Peace

Is this true? Kim Riddlebarger points to this article and claims otherwise. I have oft raised the question as it seems that the Muslim you meet next door is friendly enough for our culture to say, “If it works for them...” But I have constantly been thinking, are these Muslims consistent with their teaching? If an imam tells them that it is righteous to kill, and they do not kill, can we legitimately say that Islam is a religion of peace? Here is a great excerpt from Riddlebarger’s post:

The irony is that twenty years ago this threat was not even on the radar.  Who would have thought that American evangelicalism would become so doctrinally wimpy as to be helpless against Islamic growth and ideology?  Seeker-centered worship and vapid felt-need oriented preaching are quickly exposed for what they are in the face of a threat like Islamic expansion.  Islam is growing and expanding in most communities in the United States, probably yours.  And what are you doing about it?

After traveling to the Middle East, I can say that all Muslims are not terrorists. It is foolish to think so. That would be like assuming everyone who goes to church in the United States is a Christ-follower. Just because people who call themselves Christians aren’t living consistently with Christ’s teaching, does this mean we make value judgments on the religion? No. We point to the teachings and show the person that he is inconsistent and he should get his knee bowed to Jesus’ lordship. How long will it take until the imams do the same with their inconsistent parishioners?

Tuesday, August 22

The Whole Glory of God (Part 1)

This audio of John Piper has just been put up by The Resurgence from a conference they had back in 2004 for church planters. I was able to go and was thoroughly blessed by the Reformission group (affiliated with Acts 29 - a church planter’s network affiliated with Mars Hill Church in Seattle). This is Part 1 of (I believe three sermons that were preached at the conference). It was at this conference that much was confirmed in my appreciation for Mark Driscoll and the Mars Hill group. May you be as blessed as I was.

Saturday, August 19

Could You Write a Letter Like This?

Adoniram Judson wrote a letter to Ann Hasseltine's parents asking for her hand in marriage. He knew that he was going to Burma and did not make false promises:

"I have now to ask whether you can consnt to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure for a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death? Can you consent to all this for the sake of Him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing immortal souls; for the sake of Zion and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness, brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?" (taken from The Three Mrs. Judsons, p. 8).

Friday, August 18

The Third Person in the Trinity: Scriptural Data [2]

Lk 3.22 - the three distinct persons of the Trinity represented (voice, dove, Son)

1 Cor 6.19 - a temple of the Holy Spirit...would this be idolatry of the Holy Spirit if he were not God. In other words, Paul would be encouraging us to be temples to an idol!

Heb 3.7 - The Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear his voice...” This is citing the Old Testament reference to Psa 95.9-11. In these verses YHWH makes it explicit that they sinned against him. This is YHWH speaking and the preacher of Hebrews says it is the Holy Spirit. (see also Heb 4.6-7)

Heb 10.15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
16         “This is the covenant that I will make with them
                after those days, declares the Lord:
                I will put my laws on their hearts,
                and write them on their minds,”
17   then he adds,
         “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

Is this a mere slip of words? Doubtful. This is cited from Jer 31. The Lord speaks of a New Covenant that he will ratify and make effective by giving new hearts. This is done by God. The preacher of Hebrews makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is God in v.17 when he attributes remembering their sins and lawless deeds no more to the Holy Spirit’s activity. Additionally, the Holy Spirit is called “he.” I will discuss this aspect of spirit being equivalent to personhood in the next post.

Friday Foto

Ascension & Parousia

When I looked at this picture, I couldn’t decide whether it was of Christ’s ascension or his return. I then remembered the angel asking the disciples:
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1.11).

I had put it in b&w but the orange glow doesn’t come off like in color.

Thursday, August 17

The Third Person in the Trinity: Scriptural Data

I was contacted by someone in close proximity of the leadership of a group that I tagged as a group to stay away from (here). I was very appreciative for the e-mail - both for its humility and desire to explain the position of Pastor John’s House group.

I don’t carry on ongoing one-on-on correspondence with females who are not my wife. And I thought it best to respond to this person’s questions by addressing my readers so they are able to understand the third person of the Trinity better.

The e-mailer said:

“For some reason, I have been thinking about the Trinity a lot this week... just how it seems to me to have such clearly pagan roots.  And I was thinking about Paul's letters.  I just recently noticed for the first time that all of them start off with something like, "Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ."  It seems like if the Spirit was a person equal to Jesus and the Father that Paul wouldn't have dared to leave Him out.  What do you think?” (original emphasis).

As regards pagan roots, the same has been said of the Christians’ claim that Jesus is divine. Christians, however, submit to the Scriptures. So what do the Scriptures say about the Jesus and the Holy Spirit? Here are some scriptural attestations to the Holy Spirit’s person and equivalency to the Father and Son with some thoughts by your truly:

Acts 5.3 - Ananias & Sapphira lie to the Holy Spirit (who is God). Note that Peter tells them that they have lied to God in v.4, while in v.3 he tells them they lied to the Holy Spirit

Mt 28.18-20 - The Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Just as this Trinitarian formula has been one of the texts used to explain Jesus’ divinity, so it is used for the 3rd person of the Trinity. Note the use of the singular word “Name” of God...not names (highlighting their unity as God)

Jn 14.16 - A Helper of the same kind. The Greek word used here is ἄλλος , which means “another of the same kind” whereas the Greek word ἕτερος means “another of a different kind” (see Mt 6.24)

More to come...

Thursday, August 10

A Technological Messiah

I believe you will have to concede that what ails us, what causes us the most misery and pain - at both cultural and personal levels - has nothing to do with the sort of information made accessible by computers. The computer and its information cannot answer any of the fundamental questions we need to address to make our lives more meaningful and humane. The computer cannot provide an organizing moral framework. It cannot tell us what questions are worth asking. It cannot provide a means of understanding why we are here or why we fight each other or why decency eludes us so often, especially when we need it the most. The computer is, in a sense, a magnificent toy that distracts us from facing what we most needed to confront - spiritual emptiness, knowledge of ourselves, usable conceptions of the past and future. Does one blame the computer for this? Of course not. It is, after all, only a machine. But it is presented to us, with trumpets blaring...as a technological messiah.

[Added emphasis; Full Article: Neil Postman, German Informatics Society, 11 Oct 90, Stuttgart]

When Google Can't Find What You're Searching For

The computer, as we know, has a quality of universality, not only because its uses are almost infinitely various but also because computers are commonly integrated into the structure of other machines. Therefore it would be fatuous of me to warn against every conceivable use of a computer. But there is no denying that the most prominent uses of computers have to do with
information. When people talk about "information sciences," they are talking about computers - how to store information, how to retrieve information, how to organize information. The computer is an answer to the questions, how can I get more information, faster, and in a more usable form? These would appear to be reasonable questions. But now I should like to put some other questions to you that seem to me more reasonable. Did Iraq invade Kuwait because of a lack of information?
If a hideous war should ensue between Iraq and the U. S., will it happen because of a lack of information? If children die of starvation in Ethiopia, does it occur because of a lack of information? Does racism in South Africa exist because of a lack of information? If criminals roam the streets of New York City, do they do so because of a lack of information?...

[Full Article: Neil Postman, German Informatics Society, 11 Oct 90, Stuttgart]

Monday, August 7


I was tagged by Sir Cawley. Here are my answers. While I have received these things on e-mail at times, I thought this one was worthy to take the time to fill out. Reading others’ suggestions has added to my WishList (birthday coming up 8.27 by the way) and I am helped by the different offerings of books.

1. One book that changed your life: Let the Nations Be Glad! - John Piper (first book I read by him and it resonated with so much that I couldn’t articulate before)

2. One book that you've read more than once: The Bible - God & His Inspired Authors (not trying to be overly pious here...I just don’t read books more than once. If I had more time I might. There are just so many, I want to try and read as many as I can. I am sure there are plenty that want to debate as to why I should read a book more than once...I think I know. Time - and I’m a slow reader!)

3. One book you'd want on a desert island: The End for Which God Created the World - Jonathan Edwards

4. One book that made you laugh: Christianity & Liberalism - JG Machen (the way he puts his finger on the pulse of the problem and the parallels with today’s post-modernism are uncanny)

5. One book that made you cry: Return of the King - JRR Tolkien (I love Sam’s devotion to Frodo)

6. One book you wish had been written: I have an idea for one that you may be seeing in the future...can’t give it away. Sorry.

7. One book you wish had never been written: Charismatic Chaos - John MacArthur (Strawman arguments and extemely divisive. Not that divisiveness is always bad, just that to divid over a misunderstood position is.)

8. One book you're currently reading: Van Til’s Apologetic - Greg Bahnsen (Loving it...this book will be marked as a turning point in my life. I love apologetics, and Bahnsen’s parsing of VanTil is not only helpful, but VanTil’s excerpts are very worshipful and convicting.)

9. One book you've been meaning to read: How to Read a Book - Mortimer Adler (Touted as the first book everyone should read...slowly.)

10. Tag 28 others:Van Diesel, Josh Harris, Griffiths, JT, Andreas Kostenberger, Alex Chediak, GoodWillHiking, Cutch, Reid Monaghan, 3ABC Elders (all 4 of you!), Ben Witherington, Matthew Hall, Owen Strachan, Al Mohler, Matthew Molesky, Michael Haykin, Oren Martin, John Majors, Brian Lund, Kevin Figgins, Hugh Hewitt, Jason Kovacs, William Dembski, John Armstrong, Scot McKnight, and Ardel Caneday (although I know folks won’t all respond, I thought it would be edifying to see what all these folks suggest by way of books to read for development in our lives...let’s see what happens. Tag as many as you’d like, although the original directions said 5.)

Friday, August 4

"Informing Ourselves to Death"

The problem with our society is not lack of information (as we saw in the last post), it is lack of moral fiber. We have way more information than we can integrate...so we trust bucket loads of information with no way to assimilate it into our worldview. Why? We have no anchor that holds within the veil of naivete.

Some more juicy quotes from Neil Postman, German Informatics Society, 11 Oct 90, Stuttgart

“[George Orwell] remarked that the average person today is about as naive as was the average person in the Middle Ages. In the Middle Ages people believed in the authority of their religion, no matter what. Today, we
believe in the authority of our science, no matter what...

The world in which we live is very nearly incomprehensible to most of us. There is almost no fact - whether actual or imagined - that will surprise us for very long, since we have no comprehensive and consistent picture of the world
which would make the fact appear as an unacceptable contradiction. We
believe because there is no reason not to believe. No social, political, historical, metaphysical, logical or spiritual reason...

The point is that, in a world without spiritual or intellectual order, nothing is unbelievable; nothing is predictable, and therefore, nothing comes as a particular surprise...

There is no consistent, integrated conception of the world which serves as the foundation on which our edifice of belief rests. And therefore, in a sense, we are more naive than those of the Middle Ages, and more frightened, for we
can be made to believe almost anything...”

Friday Foto

This is a monument in the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. The museum has just opened and I would highly recommend going if you have about 6-8 hours. Make a day out of it. I was extremely sobered by the history and film footage.

My Flickr Page

More sweet Friday Fotos.

Thursday, August 3

Neil Postman on Technology

My friend, Greg Gilbert, is guest blogging at Between Two Worlds this week and he asks some questions regarding theology and technology. Yesterday I read a great transcription of a talk Neil Postman gave to the German Informatics Society in 1990. For those of you not familiar with Neil Postman, he wrote a stellar book called Entertaining Ourselves to Death - which is a look at how entertainment has impoverished our thinking. This talk is related to this book as it is entitled, “Informing Ourselves to Death.”

An acquaintance of mine, Josh Sowin, peaked my interest in Postman by his numerous posts on him. You can find those here.

I have included some stirring quotes that capture the essence of what Postman spoke about.

Neil Postman, German Informatics Society, 11 Oct 90, Stuttgart

“Anyone who has studied the history of technology knows that
technological change is always a Faustian bargain: Technology giveth
and technology taketh away, and not always in equal measure. A new
technology sometimes creates more than it destroys. Sometimes, it
destroys more than it creates. But it is never one-sided.

The invention of the printing press is an excellent example. Printing
fostered the modern idea of individuality but it destroyed the
medieval sense of community and social integration. Printing created
prose but made poetry into an exotic and elitist form of expression.
Printing made modern science possible but transformed religious
sensibility into an exercise in superstition. Printing assisted in
the growth of the nation-state but, in so doing, made patriotism into
a sordid if not a murderous emotion.”

Thoughts on technology??

Wednesday, August 2

The Message of the Gospel [2]

This is the second half of what I posted re: the message of the Gospel. As I said before, this is Packer’s take on the message. I wanted to finish the second half so I can post on some other things re: evangelism and misc. So here are the last two taken from his mini opus. Forgive me for the bad spacing...

3. It is a message about Christ (64-65).
a. We must not present the Person of Christ apart from His saving work.
- It is sometimes said that it is the presentation of Christ’s Person, rather than of doctrines about Him, that draws sinners to His feet. It is true that it is the living Christ who saves, and that a theory of the atonement, however orthodox, is no substitute. When this remark is made, however, what is usually being suggested is that doctrinal instruction is dispensable in evangelistic preaching, and that all the evangelist need do is paint a vivid word-picture of the Man of Galilee who went about doing good, and then assure his hearers that this Jesus is still alive to help them in their troubles. But such a message could hardly be called the gospel. It would, in reality, be a mere conundrum, serving only to mystify. Who was this Jesus? we should ask; and what is His position now? Such preaching would raise these questions while concealing the answers. And thus it would completely baffle the thoughtful listener (64).
b. We must not present the saving work of Christ apart from His Person.
- We must not in presenting the gospel isolate the cross and its benefits from the Christ whose cross it was (66).
- The gospel is not, ‘believe that Christ died for everybody’s sins, and therefore for yours,’ any more than it is, ‘believe that Christ died only for certain people’s sins, and so perhaps not for yours.’ The gospel is, ‘believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for sins, and now offers to Himself as your Saviour’ (69).

4. A summons to faith and repentance (70-71).
- It needs to be said that faith is not a mere optimistic feeling, any more than repentance is a mere regretful or remorseful feeling. Faith and repentance are both acts, and acts of the whole man. Faith is more than just credence; faith is essentially the casting and resting oneself and one’s confidence on the promises of mercy which Christ has given to sinners, and on the Christ who gave those promises. Equally, repentance is more than just sorrow for the past; repentance is a change of mind and heart, a new life of denying self and serving the Saviour as king in self’s place. Mere credence without trusting , and mere remorse, without turning, do not save. ‘The devils also believe, and tremble.’ ‘ The sorrow of the world worketh death.’
a. The demand is for faith as well as for repentance.
- If there is to be faith, however, there most be a foundation of knowledge: a man must know Christ, and of His cross, and of His promises, before saving faith becomes a possibility for him (71).
b. The demand is for repentance as well as faith:
- Knowledge of the gospel, and orthodox belief of it, is no substitute for repentance (72).
- Where there is no clear knowledge, and hence no realistic recognition of the real claims that Christ makes, there can be no repentance, and therefore no salvation (73)

The Message of the Gospel [1]

Too many discussions of evangelism begin by assuming people know what the message of the gospel is and focus on how to do it. In too many circles the Gospel is merely “The kingdom of God.” What kind of message is that!?!? Someone might say, we are to take part in this kingdom. The evangel is how one becomes a part of that kingdom. This is what I will share in these next two posts. These four points come directly from JI Packer’s Evangelism & The Sovereignty of God. I don’t want to take credit where it is due somewhere else. Get the book and enjoy - the italicized portion contained in each point is a quote from Packer’s book. Hopefully this will whet your appetite for thinking through what the Gospel is...then what evangelism is.

1. It is a message about God.
-The gospel starts by teaching us that we, as creatures, are absolutely dependent on God, and that He, as Creator, has an absolute claim on us (58).

2. It is a message about sin.
-What we have to grasp, then, is that the bad conscience of the natural man is not all the same thing as conviction of sin. It does not, therefore, follow that a man is convicted of sin when he is distressed about his weaknesses and the wrong things he has done. It is not conviction of sin just to feel miserable about yourself and your failures and your inadequacy to meet life’s demands. Nor would it be saving faith is a man in that condition called on the Lord Jesus Christ just to soothe him, and cheer him up, and make him feel confident again. Nor should we be preaching the gospel (thought we might imagine we were) is all that we did was to present Christ in terms of a man’s felt wants. (‘Are you happy? Are you satisfied? Do you want peace of mind? Do you feel that you have failed? Are you fed up with yourself? Do you want a friend? Then come to Christ; He will meet your every need...’ – as if the Lord Jesus Christ were to be thought of as a fairy godmother, or a super-psychiatrist.) No; we have to go deeper than this. To preach sin means, not to make capital out of people’s felt frailties (the brainwasher’s trick), but to measure their lives by the holy law of God. To be convicted of sin means, not just to feel that one is an all-around flop, but to realize that one has offended God, and flouted His authority, and defied Him, and gone against Him, and put oneself in the wrong with Him. To preach Christ means to set Him forth as the One who through His cross sets men right with God again. To put faith in Christ means relying on Him, and Him alone, to restore us to God’s fellowship and favour (60-61).

-The Christ who is depicted and desired merely to make the lot of life’s casualties easier by supplying them with aids and comforts is not the real Christ, but a misrepresented and misconceived Christ – in effect, an imaginary Christ. And if we taught people to look to an imaginary Christ, we should have no grounds for expecting that they would find a real salvation (61-62).
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