Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Our Depraved Poor

Our Depraved Poor

Posted on August 22, 2011 by David French

[Editorial note: This article is has generated some controversy,  most of it positive.  Whilst the author is addressing the situation in the United States, the truths and principles are equally applicable, relevant, and true to New Zealand.] 

It is past time to admit a very hard truth: America’s poverty problem is also a depravity problem.

It is simply a fact that people who work hard, finish their education, get married, and stay married are rarely — very rarely — poor.  There is no other proven formula for lifting Americans out of poverty.  None.  Food stamps don’t do it.  Medicaid doesn’t do it.  Soup kitchens don’t do it.  Good intentions don’t do it.

The Secular Perversions of Gareth Morgan

An Economist's Gospel of Free Grace

We were struck recently by the following statement which appeared in the NZ Herald.  It was made by economists Gareth Morgan and Susan Guthrie. 

The United Nations in 1948 last gave strong voice to the philosophical values of the classical economists cited above, when its Declaration of Human Rights (which we signed) stated: "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of himself and his family including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control."

This is an inalienable right, not one conditional upon meeting the work-ready tests or whatever the latest set of eligibility hurdles or inquisition practices the Welfare Working Group recommends. It is a human right.  Being in or ready for paid work is not a prerequisite. This right extends to everyone, including the legions of people in our society who perform unpaid work, whether it's care for children or the elderly, or voluntary work for their communities.

OK, so let's parse this.  In 1948, the UN made a Declaration.  So what.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Studies in I Samuel

A Form of Insanity

Expository - Who Is Sufficient?
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, August 27, 2011

Goliath was a very great giant, but envy is a greater giant still. Just as giants devour, so envy devours. Envy grows on unnatural food, and when a person gives way to temptation and eats this food, the results are perverse.

“And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul . . .” (1 Sam. 18:1-30).

Jonathan heard David’s report to Saul, and Jonathan loved him (v. 1).

Why So Few?


An interesting article has appeared in the August edition of Foreign Policy magazine, somewhat cheekily entitled, "Why Is it So Hard To Find A Suicide Bomber These Days?". The author, Charles Kurzman asks a rather obvious question, If there are over one billion Moslem believers in the world today, how come there are so few terrorists and suicide bombers?
In light of the death and devastation that terrorists have wrought, the question may seem absurd. But if there are more than a billion Muslims in the world, many of whom supposedly hate the West and desire martyrdom, why don't we see terrorist attacks everywhere, every day?
He points out that hard core terrorist organizations also ask this question.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Secular States

Prophetic Epitaph

Dale Ralph Davis, in his excellent commentary II Kings: The Power and the Fury, writes the following on the text of II Kings 16 (the apostasy and idolatry of King Ahaz):

If Judah shares the abominations of those nations, she will share their fate as well.  Simply because this threat applied to the covenant nation of Judah does not mean that non-covenant nations (they prefer to call themselves "secular states") are off the hook (see Amos 1-2).  Of course our abominations are often desacralized.  In my own land our fertility rites are more often celebrated in university dormitories than at Asherah chapels and Molech receives his due in sterile clinics rather than at religious shrines.  As of this writing, my own government cannot muster enough votes to stop the horror of "partial-birth" abortion.  The "gathering darkness" is not confined to Judah, and organizing national prayer breakfasts or lobbying for evangelical chaplains in Congress will never disperse it.
Dale Ralph Davis, II Kings: The Power and The Fury (Ross-Shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications Ltd, 2005), p. 232.

We Have the Answer . . .

What are the Problems?

It is not hard to explain why Big Government parties and politicians do well.  Almost without exception Big Government has two standard responses to any issue, problem, or vexation.  The first is that Government is indeed competent to solve the problem du jour.  The second is that (someone else's) money will "prove" the competence of Government to make it all happen. Behind this lies a cultural compulsion to believe.  We want Government on the wall for us.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Unintended Mission Consequences

Church Government - Theses on Missions
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, August 24, 2011

C.S. Lewis famously says somewhere that when Jesus tells us to feed the poor, He does not give us lessons in cooking. There are certain craft competence issues that we have to figure out ourselves, relying on industry standards and our own sanctified wits. Of course, industry standards of craft competence and our own sanctified wits do not outrank the Scriptures, but we will discover, if we reflect on this carefully, that craft incompetence and folly have attributed to Scripture things it never said.

For example, we have not a word in Scripture that instructs us how missionaries from a first-world nation should interact with a third world nation.

Intelligent Life . . . But Not as We Know It, Jim


When John McCain picked Palin as his running mate, University of Chicago professor Wendy Doniger wrote that Palin’s “greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman.”
--Jonah Goldberg

Presumably, not the professor's finest moment.

The Dog That Did Not Bark

Heliocentricity Strikes Again

Several week ago (22nd of July to be exact) we came across a curiosity squirrelled away on the back pages.  CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) has been conducting some experiments testing the role of the sun in cloud formation in the atmosphere.  Clearly this research would have lots of implications for the "global warming" ideological campaign.  (The null hypothesis would be: sun has no [or negligible] influence on cloud formation upon the earth affecting global temperatures; therefore, human induced warming remains the dominant [settled] cause.) 

Late July the chief of the CERN particle physics lab, Director General Rolf-Dieter Heuer told his staff that they were to report upon the findings of the experiments, but not discuss them or draw any implications from them.  The dog was not going to be allowed to bark.  People at the time smelled a rat:

Friday, 26 August 2011

Government Science is an Oxymoron

Politicians Picking Winners and Science do not Mix

Anthony J. Sadar, in an article published in American Thinker asks whether the ideology of Progressivism has ruined Environmental Science. Of course it has, but for reasons more profound than he mentions. First, we reproduce his article, then argue why the problem is deeper and wider than the follies of Progressivism.

It's Time for (Positive) Racial Quotas

Good One, Keith and Anita

Green politician Keith Locke (whom everyone says is a nice guy) and Mana Party spokeswoman, Anita Sykes have done us a great service exposing the institutional and operational racism clearly regnant in the NZ Police force.  As we write this, we find ourselves seething with (righteous) anger against the Police and the contemptible political system which operates in this benighted country. 

We pride ourselves on being fair-minded and reasonable on this blog, but this is just unconscionable.  

The statistics are emphatically clear.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Letter From America

The Imperial Presidency

Mark Steyn
European royals make do with a less lavish lifestyle than the supposed citizen-executive of a so-called republic.

Rick Perry, governor of Texas, has only been in the presidential race for 20 minutes, but he’s already delivered one of the best lines in the campaign:  “I’ll work every day to try to make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as I can.”

This will be grand news to Schylar Capo, eleven years old, of Virginia, who made the mistake of rescuing a woodpecker from the jaws of a cat and nursing him back to health for a couple of days, and for her pains, was visited by a federal Fish & Wildlife gauleiter (with accompanying state troopers) who charged her with illegal transportation of a protected species and issued her a $535 fine.

Sadder, But Wiser--Part V

Expect More of the Same

We come to the final post in this short series on Ian Wishart's important book, Breaking Silence: The Kahui Case.  The question begged in large letters is, Who killed the twins?  The question is now largely academic, since the one charged, Chris Kahui, father of the twins has been acquitted.  He cannot be retried.  There is no-one else on the radar screen. 

The third post in this series made the definitive statement that Macsyna King was not responsible.  She was not there the fateful night the twins received the brain injuries which eventually killed them.  No amount of irrelevant ad hominem that points to her previous life, habits or disposition can obliterate this Inconvenient Fact.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Studies in I Samuel

David the Giant Killer

Expository - Book of Samuel
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, August 20, 2011

Although the sin of our first parents had placed us under bondage to the serpent, God very quickly gave us a promise that we would be avenged upon that serpent. He thus established the antithesis and promised a Messiah in the same place. This running battle is seen throughout Scripture, and the obligation to pursue giant-killing is an important part of it.

“Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines . . .” (1 Sam. 17:1-58).

This is a longer chapter, so as we summarize we will cut our pieces of meat a little larger.

Sadder, But Wiser--Part IV

Cover-Ups Not A Legitimate Option

Breaking Silence: The Kahui Case is considerably more than a whodunnit tell-all.  Author, Ian Wishart has endeavoured to put the death of the Kahui twins in a broader context--in particular, the matrix of public paediatric health services.  What we had forgotten before Wishart reminded us is that the Kahui twins, Chris and Cru were still four weeks premature when they died. These babies were at risk from the day they were discharged.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Rotten Heart of Europe

Houses Built Upon Sand

About ten years ago we read for the first time, Bernard Connolly's The Rotten Heart of Europe (London: Faber and Faber, 1995).  The Euro was over its birthpangs at the time, although when Connolly wrote his book, it was still in labour.  The Economist had been a cheerleader for the new currency and for the European Union.  It was a utopian rationalist's dream.  When all those tin-pot inefficient currencies in Europe were abolished, real economic efficiency would rein down from the gods on Mt Olympus. Or would that be Valhalla?

How troublesome the teenager that has turned out.

Sadder, But Wiser--Part III

An Open Letter to Forty Thousand Facebook Users

The case of the Kahui twins roils on.  It is easy to underestimate the public antipathy towards Macsyna King.  Then every so often we are reminded of how deep this runs.  Forty thousand people signed up to a Facebook page opposing the publication of a book which told her side of the story--almost overnight.  The loathing, hatred, and vituperation expressed there for this one woman--before she even spoke up--is a blot upon our society.

After all, the only way to this point we (the public) had known of her has been through media reports.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Eleven Theses on Private Spirits

Church Government - Private Spirits
Written by Douglas Wilson
Friday, August 19, 2011

Editorial Note: the issue of whether divine revelation is complete, final, full, and sufficient is vitally important.  The so-called charismatic movement has asserted that biblical divine revelation continues--in some way, shape or form.  So historically has the Roman Catholic church.  We are of the cessationist view: that the Scripture itself declares that special revelation has ceased because it is full and complete.  The debate has arisen again in the circles in which Douglas Wilson ministers.  It immediate cause has been statements made by Mark Driscoll.  The following piece represents Wilson's reflections on the issue in general. 

Before getting into it, my views on the subject of continuing revelation are basically found in the first chapter of the Westminster Confession.

Sadder, But Wiser--Part II

Not World's Apart

Macsyna King has broken her silence.  Ian Wishart has confirmed that the pre-pub embargo has ended, and that we are free to "discuss away" as he put it.  Below is a collage of thoughts about the underclass and King's role in it. 

We know it exists, this underclass.  We know that it is strong, vibrant and growing.  It has all the malign life force of an aggressive cancer.  To be sure, most of us know it in theoretical, not experiential terms.  That does not make our knowledge necessarily wrong or inaccurate.  In fact, King's account of her life from her parents right down to the present day will confirm just about every understanding of this terrible vortex.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

If Dat Don't Make Ya Feel Good . . .

. . . We Ain't Got Nuttin'

The Blind Boys of Alabama sing Amazing Grace to the tune of House of the Rising Sun.

Sadder, But Wiser

Macsyna King, "Breaking Silence"

OK, so it's time to fess up.  We have read the book.  Yes, the book.  The banned book--banned by the Star Chamber of New Zealand public opinion. The one some are calling the most appalling book ever to be written (even though it has yet to be released).  You know, the one a Facebook instant crowd of 40,000 New Zealanders tried to ban when news of its imminent publication surfaced.  We are referring, of course, to Ian Wishart's Breaking Silence: the Kahui Case, subtitled Macsyna King and the Real Story of the Murder of Her Twins

A notorious woman, Macsyna King has been arraigned, tried, and condemned in the hallowed court of public opinion.

Friday, 19 August 2011

The Great Bank Run of 2011

Silent Paralysis

We read recently about the "secret" bank run in Greece.  Folk have been taking their money out of bank deposits in Greece and (literally) putting the money under mattresses.  They don't trust the solvency of banks any more.  Better to get their money out before its too late.  But it appears that this is not just a Greek problem.  Europe-wide the "folks" are taking their money out of European bank deposits and putting the money . . . where?  In US banks, it would appear. 

This fear-driven phenomenon would indicate a coming recession/deflation rather than recovery.  When people store their money rather than investing it, deflation usually stalks the land.  

Here is Larry Kudlow's take:

Really? No.

Reports of Death Greatly Exaggerated

Post-modernism or "pomo" to the initiated, has been a great boon to us all if you have the perspective of an ancient Assyrian.  In the pre-classical Middle East, when "the Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold" everyone knew that bad times were a-comin'.  In expanding their empire, the Assyrians believed they needed to rebuild everything from the bottom up; thus, first they had to destroy everything before them, reduce buildings and people to rubble, and only then could a new order be constructed.  The Assyrians believed order could only come if were preceded by nihilism.  It was the "ultimate solution" of the ancient world.  But what then?  What came after?  What was the "new world order"?

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

The King of Missions

Church Government - Theses on Missions
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, August 08, 2011

Missionaries should know the gospel, and be trained in the great doctrinal themes of the Bible. They should also be good-hearted people, but the good-heartedness does not supplant the need for craft competence. This is also true of the other areas that surround mission activity. Missionary pilots should be really good pilots. It is not enough that they "love Jesus."

False Hopes

Counterfeit Coinage

The Scriptures leave us in no doubt why ancient Israel, then Judah lost their independence and became vassal states.  Both the northern and southern kingdoms were subjugated by foreign powers, eventually passing from human history.  Israel went first, then one hundred years later Judah followed.


Wednesday, 17 August 2011

America's Better Loved Poems, Part I

The Road Not Taken

The best loved poems of a particular generation are like a window into the heart of a culture.  This from Martin Kettle, writing in the Guardian in April 2000:

The More Things Change . . .

A Revival of Heretical Paganism

John G. West has written an insightful essay on the pitfalls and contradictions of theistic evolutionism, entitled Nothing New Under the Sun: Theistic Evolution, the Early Church, and the Return of Gnosticism.  (Jay W. Richards, God and Evolution [Seattle: Discovery Institute Press, 2010]).  By comparing the intellectual and theological battlegrounds of the early church with those faced by the church today, he concludes that the modern battle is "same-old, same-old".  West underscores how Unbelief always operates within the confines a very narrow tunnel.  It has to.  Rebellious creatures are, in the end, rebellious creatures.  They are not free, but enslaved.  Intellectual constructions are no exception. As the Preacher said, "There is nothing new under the sun."

Someone once observed that Unbelieving philosophical development reached its zenith with the Greeks--thereafter all succeeding generations have been merely writing commentaries.  West's essay produces evidence to support this claim.  During the first centuries of the New Covenant Church Christian theologians faced two groups who opposed the doctrine of ex-nihilo creation by Almighty God.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Al Vents His Frustration

‘Bulls**t!’: Al Gore Comes ‘Unhinged’ During Climate Change Speech

Posted on August 8, 2011 at 12:23pm by Jonathon M. Seidl

It hasn’t been a good couple weeks for climate change proponents. And that seems to be getting under Al Gore’s skin.

Parables Test the Heart

Through the Joints And Marrow

Parabolic teaching is the test of men.  Whether men understand or do not undersand the teaching veiled in the parable is the revelation of their state of mind and heart, or, as it is fashionable nowadays to call it, of their receptivity.  Parabolic teaching then comes into the world as a rock of decision; those who are open to the truth understand, those not open to the truth do not understand. . . . [In fact,] All teaching as to the divine and heavenly things is, in a measure, parabolic; we can reach above the world and ourselves only by symbols.  All such teaching comes to us, then, as a test, and the proximate account of its varied reception may be found in the condition of the ears that hear it.  Have we ears to hear this music?  Or does it beat a vain jangling discord only on our ears?  The philosophy of the progress of the Kingdom in the world rests on the one fact--the condition of the hearer.  He that has ears to hear, hears; he that has no ears to hear this music, remains unmoved.
B. B. Warfield, "Light and Shining," Faith and Life, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, [1916] 1974), p.62f.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Letter From America

Mad Debt

A threat to liberty.
Mark Steyn
National Review Online
August 6, 2011

On Thursday 11th August, in honor of Barack Obama’s 50th birthday, the Dow dropped ten points for every year he has walked among us. It was the ninth largest drop in history. We should be relieved he wasn’t turning eighty.

The markets are apparently concerned that the entire global economy may be “stalling.” You don’t say? Observant fellows, these market chappies.

And yet, in a certain sense, these are still the good times.

Rising Panic

Those Straws Look Pretty Strong To Me

Some times you just have to shake your head.  The truth has become stranger than fiction.  When it gets this bad, you really have to wonder whether panic is starting to set in. 

Cue Alan Greenspan.  He has been quoted as saying that there is absolutely zero chance of a US default upon its debts.  Why?  Well, the US can always print money to pay back the debt.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Lollygaggers at the Somme

Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, August 02, 2011

After the clowns-on-tiny-bicycles show that we have all just witnessed, which clown show obtained for us our debt ceiling deal, it would be easy for conservatives to think that it all was, in fact, just a show, just for show.

Since there was so much fuss and bother, with so little result, it is easy to assume the whole thing was a Washington DC-style charade.

Heavenly Good of Earthly Work, Part V

A Kingdom of Blood, Sweat and Tears

The apostles, infallibly inspired by the Holy Spirit, took up common Greek concepts of their day but changed their meaning so as to carry the Truth and testify to God.  A prime example is the word "logos".  The word "logos" in the classical and Hellenistic worlds had a pedigree.  The Apostle John took up the word, emptied it of its Hellenistic content, reference, and connotations, and used it to reveal glorious truth about our Lord.

The same can be said for "spirit" and "spiritual"--which was a widely used concept in the Hellenistic world--but with this difference: "spirit" also had an Old Testament pedigree. To rid the modern church of pagan notions of spirituality we must submit to the Bible's denotation and connotation of these terms.  And as we said in our previous post, those who are not aware of the issues and what is at stake has probably imbibed the pagan concepts of "spirit" and "spiritual" not biblical truth.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Studies in I Samuel

Strike Three

Expository - Book of Samuel
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, August 06, 2011

I Samuel Chapter 15

Saul falls away from his position of favor with the Lord in a series of three falls. In chapter 13, he did not wait for Samuel to sacrifice, as he had been instructed to. In chapter 14, he makes a rash vow concerning the battle, and doubles down with a self-maledictory oath. And here, in chapter 15, he falls the third time, and for good, when he rebels against the express command of the Lord.

Earthy Religion

The Human Body Reflects God's Image

The Scriptures declare in Genesis that man is made in the image of God. This is the definitive biblical distinction between man and all other creatures.  No other creature is so denoted by God.

There has been a good deal of reflection on what, in turn, being in God's image denotes precisely.  A common view is that man alone of all creatures has a soul, a personal identity or subsistence which enables him to commune and fellowship with God--whether in the body or out of the body.  This is something which dogs, for instance, do not have--although metaphorically the poets in the Psalms speak of animals crying out to God for their food.   Others have zeroed in on man's rational faculty: the fact that man can reason is why he is said to be in God's image.  Others still have pointed to language and the ability to communicate.  

The idea underlying all these possibilities is that man can lay aside his physical body at will, and retain his identity as being in God's image.  A second implication is that man is not unique in bearing the image of God--for all of these characteristics are shared with angels--who, along with man--commune with God, reason, think, argue, debate, and communicate.

This view of the "image of God", however, is a view which traditional and classical Jewish exposition has rejected.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

And Among the Empty Pizza Boxes There Was Not Found a Helper Suitable Unto Him

Liturgy and Worship - Exhortation
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, July 30, 2011

As we grow in the Lord, we discover that as soon as we turn from one thing, there is always another. There is no plateau in this life where we can afford to relax, pretending that we now have everything well in hand. If we turn away for a moment, if we offend at just one point, we discover we have broken the whole law. If we stop swimming up river, we have no alternative but to float downstream.

Showing God a Thing or Two

We Can Get Out of This--No Drama, Mr Obama

The S&P credit rating downgrade of the United States of America demands our attention.  It is the first time in the history of credit ratings that the US has lost the Triple A standard.  Some are calling it momentous.  Others are arguing that it has been a long time coming and that it was inevitable.

Let's try to get some perspective on the downgrade.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Mark Steyn on Planets

A Post-American Planet

Decline starts with the money, but it doesn’t stop there.
July 30, 2011 7:00 A.M.
Mark Steyn
Reprinted from National Review Online

That thoughtful observer of the passing parade, Nancy Pelosi, weighed in on the “debt ceiling” negotiations the other day: “What we’re trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We’re trying to save life on this planet as we know it today.”

It’s always good to have things explained in terms we simpletons can understand. After a while, all the stuff about debt-to-GDP ratio and CBO alternative baseline scenarios starts to give you a bit of a headache, so we should be grateful to the House minority leader for putting it in layman’s terms: What’s at stake is “life on this planet as we know it today.” So, if right now you’re living anywhere in the general vicinity of this planet, it’s good to know Nancy’s in there pitching for you.

Heavenly Good of Earthly Work, Part IV

Losing the Duel with Dualism

In his book, The Heavenly Good of Earthly Work, Darrell Cosden, who lectures in Theology and Ethics at the International Christian College of Glasgow, is searching for a theology of work that "works".  He has rejected (in principle) a destructive dualism long present in evangelicalism which divides creation into two storeys: an upper storey and a lower storey. 

The lower storey in this dualism is all that has to do with physical matter, and with the world of time and space in which we live and move and have our existence.  It is the world of blood, sweat and tears.  It is the world of marrying, bearing children and raising them.  It is the world of work.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Progress In the Fight Against Abortion

Right Thinking Feminism

We commented several days ago on the merit of making small progress gradually when dealing with big issues.

Kathryn Jean Lopez documents some great small and gradual progress in Cajun country--aka Louisiana--in the fight against abortion.

Fiduciary Failures

 Lords Over Serfs

One of the most offensive odiousnesses of modern politics is the way politicians morph into believing they are "to the manor born".  This can take many forms, such as what is now termed "troughing"--using extortions from the public via taxation to pay for personal expenses.    Another maddening form is extracting taxes to fund a grand gesture.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Studies in I Samuel

Bramble and Bright

Book of Samuel
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, July 30, 2011

I Samuel 14

We have seen how Saul stumbled by trying to sacrifice before Samuel’s arrival. In this chapter, we see his second great sin, this time involving his son—a very noble son—Jonathan. The tragedy here is that Jonathan, who would have made a wonderful king, is excluded from that throne by the sin of his father.

Career Choices

Our Version of Child Slavery

The following appeared in a recent edition of Sunday News.  As you read this, please bear in mind that what is described here is officially fictional.  The line from the Commentariat is that this sort of thing never actually occurs and certainly could not exist.  The official Commentariat talking points are that human beings are not like this, and are incapable of acting and thinking as this article describes.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Wanted: More Like Fr Zakaria

The Power of the Gospel in Arabic Lands

We republish below an account of a very effective coptic Christian who has become Public Enemy No 1 in the Arabic Islamic world.

Heavenly Good of Earthly Work, Part III

The Glory of Shiraz in the Kingdom

A persistent driver of the dualism which has weakened the Church ever since its re-birth under the New Covenant is eschatology.  Our understanding of the future has critically shaped our understanding of the present.  It is always this way.  It is unavoidable.  It is necessary.

We believe we will not manage to break down and throw out the pagan idea of spirit versus matter, which--as our previous posts have demonstrated--ends up constructing a hierarchy of things that are seen as really important to God, and things which are not.  The really important things--the godly things, the spiritual things--are those that last.  That is, the really important things are those which continue on into eternity.  If matter and material reality is thought not to last for eternity, it will always be degraded in our eyes. 

Evangelicalism is racked with this pernicious dichotomy.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Hard Data Every Time, Part II

Pesky Stubborn Facts

The conjectures of global warming are being falsified by actual measurements and data. 

Our previous piece profiled how long term sea-level measurements show no evidence of perpetual rising of sea levels (as demanded by the speculative theories of global warming).  Now, at this point, we note that the logic of the scientific method requires that the hypothesis being tested (Global Warming) be rejected.  The sociology of science is a different matter. Climate alarmists will ignore, rationalise, obfuscate with ad-hominem, and try harder.  But we are confident in the end their spurious computer-model conjectures will sink under the weight of actual measured evidence.

This piece deals with another nail in the warmist coffin: actual atmospheric measurements, via satellite.

No More Mud

Mr Goff Needs Our Support and  Compassion

It has now got to the stage where all the public mockery and mudslinging at Philip Goff must stop.  It is not just tasteless.  It has become clear that it is now entirely inappropriate. 

Mr Goff is leader of New Zealand's loyal opposition--the union and homosexual controlled Labour Party.  Since Mr Goff is neither a unionist nor a homosexual, he has had a very difficult task in his role as leader.  To his credit he has not complained. 

Mr Goff has been involved in a very public dispute with the head of New Zealand's Intelligence Service ("SIS").

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Calvinism and Conspiracy

Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 6:57 am

We live in a time when conspiratorial theories abound, and when tracts, screeds, and web sites advancing such theories proliferate. If you have the time, you might want to research and answer every box on the flow chart (the one with the Masons, the Illuminati, and the Bilderberg Group on it). But if you don't have time (and you shouldn't, really), a far more effective antidote is simply to become a robust Calvinist. If you already are a Calvinist, then perhaps you should just rededicate your life.

As Jonathan Kay has observed, one of the basic features of the conspiratorial mindset is a deep belief in the hypercompetence of the evil cabal that runs the world.

Astute Conviction Politicians

There's a Time to Hold, and a Time to Fold

A sage has observed astutely that politics is the art of the possible.  The torrid debate in the US over the debt ceiling and government spending, and the resulting compromise, has been an object lesson in politics.  The outcome has satisfied no-one.  Probably that means the result was about right--politically speaking.

At the level of fundamental truth and principle the recent US debt deal needs to be rejected completely.  It is simply not a solution at all.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Hard Data Every Time, Part I

Just the Facts, Ma'am.

One of the most egregious aspects of Global Warming alarmism is that its "science" is built upon computer models, based upon conjectures, conjured up by projecting centuries into the future.  As with all models, garbage in, garbage out.  But worse, the models rely upon core assumptions about how the global climate and atmospheric systems work.

But since the models produce "hard" numbers, they immediately gain credibility amongst the credulous.  "On average, global temperatures will rise 3.659023 percent in the next one hundred years."  Who can doubt when such precision is displayed.

Heavenly Good of Earthly Work, Part II

Luther Restates the Dualism

The Western Church has long been afflicted by an enervating dualism that placed a priority upon heaven at the expense of earth.  Heaven had to do with God, spiritual realities, eternity; earth had to do with physical and material reality, the body, and atoms.  It was temporal.  It would pass away.  The realm of matter, and service in it, was only a means to an eternal end. Therefore, it was relatively unimportant in the big scheme of things.

There are many problems with this perspective--which is essentially a re-presentation of Greek pagan thought.  Not the least is that most Christians spend the majority of their time, energy, and attention on work, on activity and labour in the material world.  In the end, it is all going to come to nothing.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Mohammed and His Vile, Yet Consistent Disciples

Islam Preys Upon the Vulnerable and the Weak 

A Saudi cleric has issued a fatwa defending the right for men to have sexual intercourse with young girls, provided they can "bear the weight" of the man.  The fatwa argues justification for this evil in part from the teaching and example of Mohammed. 

This, from Raymond Ibrahim:

Heavenly Good of Earthly Work, Part I

It's All Going to Burn

For over one thousand years the Western Church has been undermined by an unbiblical dualism.  The evangelical stream flowing out of the Reformation was unable to shake off its shackles, largely because of the influence of Luther.  Now, however--and not before time, serious efforts are underway to attack this unbiblical nostrum head on, with the Scriptures. The critical issue turns around the place and value of work.

We are going to publish a short series of posts on this issue.  They will interact with a helpful introduction to these matters in a book by Darrell Cosden, entitled, The Heavenly Good of Earthly Work (Milton Keynes, Buck: Paternoster Press, 2006). 

Many years ago we recall being told that there are only three things which are going to last for eternity: God, redeemed people, and the Word of God.  Therefore, we were admonished, above all else devote your life to these three.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Fatherless Under the Fig Tree

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, July 25, 2011 7:12 am

Hard libertarianism and/or anarchy is a function of what might be called civic fatherlessness. Just as the antitheist regards the eternality of the Father as tyrannical on the face of it, so also the hard libertarian regards any civic authority whatever as something to chafe the soul.

Within this paradigm, all political authority is based on coercion, straight up, and since coercion is (obviously) bad, then at best we should regard political authority as a necessary evil, and at worst tyranny to be thrown off. Those who are more eschatologically minded long for the day when the state withers, or blows up, or something, and then every man can sit fatherless under his own fig tree. This view assumes that the only possible justification for civil authority is pragmatic, and when we grow past the need for such pragmatic expedients, then we will no longer have any presidents or kings. We will have grown out of our need for civil fathers, or so the pipe dream goes.

But as I write this, I am in my late fifties, and my father is in his eighties.

Enter Into the Joy . . .

Obituary for John R. W. Stott (1921-2011)

It is impossible to be sad over the passing from the sight of mortal men of this faithful servant and great man of God.  Rather, we thank God that He made, effectually called, endowed, and equipped this, His servant.  The Church and creation is richer for these divine mercies and gifts. 

Here is Justin Taylor's obituary: