Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Brief History of some early Christeological Heresies

 
‘Christeological’ refers to the theology of Christ. As early as the 1st century, numerous heresies arose concerning the identity and nature of Christ. The challenge of answering the heretics forced the church to develop a formalised Christeological theology. The theology they developed is still normative today and has given us a language with which to more easily talk about the second person of the God-head.

The first controversy arose when certain people began denying that Jesus had a material body. This was known as the heresy of Docetism.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Are members of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches Christians?

   
A reader wrote the following question to me back in December:

Most Reformed believers tend to write off most Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians as unsaved, but there is starting to be a rise (as you no doubt know) of thought from the Federal Vision that Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox should be considered Christian, based on their baptism. What are your thoughts on what the evangelical view of RCs and EOs should be? Do you think their sacramental system encourages nominalism?


Those are some really good questions. If you don't mind, I am not going to address the question of nominalism right now and instead focus on your other question. Should Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox be considered Christians based on their baptisms?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Conversion experiences?

A reader wrote the following question to me:
In your blog post about "The Presbyterian Doctrine of Covenant Children," you said that the traditional Reformed view of children of believers is that they are already in covenant with God and should be raised and nurtured so that they grow up not knowing a time when they did not love God, have sorrow for sin, faith in Christ, etc. I've noticed that in modern evangelicalism there is a tendency to put a great deal of emphasis on the necessity of "personal conversion" and "making a decision." There is somewhat of the same thing in Reformed circles (especially Reformed Baptist circles), where children of believers are encouraged to "seek salvation" and get under conviction of sin, and may not be converted until some point in their teen years--in keeping with Edwards views about seeking salvation. How do you view this emphasis on having a personal conversion experience in light of the Reformed view of covenant children?

Good question. The short answer is that I am against the emphasis on children of believers having to have a conversion experience.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Standing against evil


"Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it. The greatest heroes stand because it is right to do so not because they believe they will walk away with their lives. Such selfless courage is a victory in itself." Nate Wilson

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Links to articles on Thought Police

 

Thought Police Muscle up in Britain 

 

Thought Control in American Society 

 

Thought Reform 101 



Thought Police article in HTML


Thought Control

 

Banned in Britain

 

 Is that liberalism?

 

Lord Waddington on British Thought Control

 

Free Speech in Europe 

 

Big Brother Britain

 

Musings on England

 

The Orwellian Legacy of Tony Blair

 

The Retreat of Reason



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Friday, January 22, 2010

Review of Banned in Britain by Michael Savage



On 5 May 2009, the American talk show host Michael Savage woke up around 7:00 AM and turned on his computer to check the news.

Imagine Mr. Savage’s surprise when, scanning the headlines, he read: “RADIO HOST MICHAEL SAVAGE BANNED FROM UK FOR ‘EXTREME VIEWS’.

Following a link to the Independent, Mr. Savage saw an article titled, ‘Named and Shamed: The 16 Barred from the UK.” Looking at the profiles on the other 15 individuals who were listed alongside of himself (all notorious murderers, terrorist and rapists) Savage wondered what he had done to induce the Home Office to include his name on their blacklist.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winston Churchill on free speech and socialism


  
"No socialist government conducting the entire life and industry of the country could afford to allow free, sharp, or violently worded expressions of public discontent. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo, no doubt very humanely directed in the first instance. And this would nip opinion in the bud; it would stop criticism as it reared its head, and it would gather all the power ot the supreme party and the party leaders, rising like stately pinnacles above their vast bureaucracies of Civil servants, no longer servants and no longer civil."



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Blog books I’m reading to my children at the moment or have recently finished reading to them




Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Is that liberalism?

'Tis the Majority
In this, as All, prevail –
Assent, and you are sane –
Demur, you’re straightway dangerous –
And handled with a Chain –


Emily Dickinson

I am currently reading Michael Savage's book Banned in Britain: Beating the Liberal Blacklist. Among his numerous insights is that liberalism has undergone a subtle shift from the 1960s. "I remember the 1960s" he writes,
when true liberals used to say, "I may disagree with you but I would fight to the death your right to say it." When have you last heard a liberal say, "Oh I may disagree with conservative talk radio, but I would fight to the death their right to say what they believe in"? I don't hear that anymore. What instead I hear is, "I think it's time to pass a standard...to bring accountability to the airwaves." That was stated earlier this year by left wing Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Is that liberalism?
While contemporary liberals still like to imagine themselves operating within the ideological legacy framed by such men as Hume, Locke, Diderot, Voltaire, Tocqueville, Mill and Burke, the totalitarian utopia towards which they strive and the Mccarthyism by which they would drive us there, is the antithesis to the genuine liberal values espoused by the 18th and 19th century defenders of freedom. If contemporary liberalism is marked by any defining feature, it is a dogmatic intolerance to dissent that I have elsewhere described by invoking the category of 'thought police.'
  
A parallel shift can be seen in the notion of tolerance. Tolerance used to be was understood as allowing or permitting another person’s viewpoint or values in spite of how one personally felt. Though this notion of tolerance, like any type of liberty, has obvious legal limits, it was based on the Biblical idea (not always perfectly followed by Christian societies, I should add) that we should refrain from deporting, imprisoning, executing or humiliating those whose beliefs, practices and behaviors are inferior to one’s own. Tolerance in this sense did not suggest an acceptance of that which was being tolerated, but connoted the idea of allowing something in spite of how one actually felt about it, as embodied in the quotation falsely attributed to Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Around the middle of the last century, however, tolerance gradually ceased to be understood in the original sense as permitting that which one did not personally accept. Instead, it began to mean actually accepting ideas, values and practices that differed from one’s own. Whereas under the old notion of tolerance someone had to disagree with someone in order to tolerate, allow or put up with the different viewpoint, the new meaning of tolerance does not allow for such disagreement; rather, it asserts that a person must actually accept all values and viewpoint as being equally legitimate (the obvious exception is that we are not supposed to tolerate the older notion of tolerance, since the older notion assumed what is now an allegedly intolerant antithesis.)

This paradigm shift in the notion of tolerance and liberalism have had far reaching implications for Christians. Since it is now an act of intolerance to call anything wrong or immoral, Christians who hold to the Biblical standards, or even generic conservative views, are constantly finding themselves accused of intolerance and lumped together with terrorists, murderers and rapists. In their defense they can no longer appeal to  the values of classical liberalism since the left has abandoned its historical roots and embraced a revolutionary mentality that is antithetic to the classic defense of liberty.

It is a strange world that we live in.

Further Reading

The Retreat of Reason: Political Correctness and the Corruption of Public Debate

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Read my columns at the Charles Colson Center

Read my writings at Alfred the Great Society

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Conspiracy theories

 
I always try to avoid taking conspiracy theories too seriously, but after maybe I should think differently given that 33 conspiracy theories have actually turned out to be true.


 

Monday, January 18, 2010

On talking fish and grateful hearts



“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!...Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”--- Philippians 4:4 & 6-7

In their collection of fairy tails, the Grimms brothers have a story about a fisherman and his wife who lived together in a small shack. One day when the husband was out fishing, he happened to catch a flounder who could talk.

The fish explained that he was really an enchanted prince and begged the fisherman to let him go. Being impressed by the occasion of a talking fish, the man gladly consented and put the fish back into the sea.

That night when the fisherman got home and told his wife Ilsebill about the strange encounter, she was indignant that he hadn’t asked the fish for anything. If he was really an enchanted prince, she explained to her husband, he would surely be able to grant wishes. The wife insisted that the following morning her husband should call for the fish and ask him to give them a nice cottage in which to live.

Being content with their small shack, the fisherman was reluctant to follow his wife’s bidding. But she insisted so forcibly that he eventually relented.

The next day on the sea, the man called up the founder and told of his wife’s request. The fish assured him that the wish had been granted, and that he would go home to find Ilsebill living in a nice cottage instead of the filthy shack.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Time to be grateful


Of all the people who have ever lived, we ought to be the most grateful.

Those living in the contemporary West have been lavished with blessings that are almost unfathomable.

Think about it: you can drive to the supermarket with a free string quartet in the back of your car (stereo). When you get home, you can have your own private messengers deliver a letter half way across the world at record speed (internet). After dinner you can relax on the couch in front of your own private drama group (television).

That is a lifestyle that not even kings could enjoy in days gone by.

So you would think that we would be the most grateful people in all of history.

But we are not. As a general observation, we are a culture of grumblers. Our technology has done many things for us, but it does not seem to have made us more content. It does not seem to have produced thankfulness in our hearts, at least not on a broad cultural level.

To counter this and stir our grumbling hearts to gratefulness (including my own grumbling heart), I will writing a series of posts on gratefulness, taken from talks I have given my family on this theme.


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Saturday, January 16, 2010

The year of the 10th Amendment

 
Rightside news had an interesting article in which they pointed out that in 2009, seven states passed sovereignty resolutions under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Two states passed laws nullifying some federal firearms laws and regulations. States with Medical Marijuana laws in direct opposition to federal laws reached thirteen. In 2010, some expect the ante to be raised significantly. The articles continues by pointing out that

"Already, over a dozen states are considering laws or state constitutional amendments that would effectively ban, or nullify, any proposed national health care plan in their state, and we expect that number to reach at least twenty in 2010," said Michael Boldin, founder of the Tenth Amendment Center.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dropping the bomb on health care

  
The following is taken from these astute observations on health care.
 
As business owners undergo the yearly ritual of passing through eye-popping health insurance premium increases to their employees, it's easy to understand why any attempt at health insurance reform would be met with some degree of hope. Unfortunately, President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress are about to take a very bad system and make it unimaginably worse.
While ramming their new legislation through Congress, the Democrats have taken great pains to point out that they do not intend to "socialize medicine." But make no mistake, that's where we're headed. Even if some naïve centrists believe that their efforts have denied the Left a total victory, the practical implications of the current legislation sow the seeds for complete capitulation.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Taste of Sabbath


Having journeyed during my life from being a Saturday Sabatarian to holding the position that the Sabbath had been done away with in Christ, to everything in between, it was with interest that I picked up Stuart Bryan's little book The Taste of Sabbath: How to Delight in God's Rest.

This is Stuart Bryan first book and I hope it will be followed by many more, since Stuart has a particular gift at distilling complex theological ideas and making them accessible for a lay person. His particular theological emphasis is always to give attention to the story of redemption history, showing how the rich tapestry of Old Testament themes find fulfilment in the work of Christ. The Taste of Sabbath is no exception, and takes us on a journey of God's redemptive plan, showing how it reaches a climax in the work of Jesus in general and the Christian Sabbath in particular.

2009: a bad year for civil liberties

2009 was a bad year for liberty in Great Britain.

Consider:


2009: A bad year for civil liberties

28 December, 2009 • The 20,000 snooper army: Vast number of town hall bureaucrats get power to enter your home without a warrant

28 December, 2009 • Conwy near top of “Big Brother barge-in league”

23 December, 2009 • Police officers claim we're not a Big Brother state

Friday, January 08, 2010

The best film I watched in in all of 2009

The country where everyone is a slave to one family

"In North Korea, every person is property and is owned by a small and mad family with hereditary power. Every minute of every day, as far as regimentation can assure the fact, is spent in absolute subjection and serfdom. The private life has been entirely abolished. One tries to avoid cliché, and I did my best on a visit to this terrifying country in the year 2000, but George Orwell's 1984 was published at about the time that Kim Il Sung set up his system, and it really is as if he got hold of an early copy of the novel and used it as a blueprint."

From Christopher Hitchens' article "Worse Than 1984: North Korea, slave state."

Deficits are Bad, but the Real Problem is Spending



For more about inflation and the national debt, see my article 'What the Treasury Department is not telling Americans about the national debt.'

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Killing Fields of North Korea

Last year I wrote a report for Christian Voice March issue, on the state of the church in North Korea, the military dictatorship which leads the world in the persecution of believers. I was shocked at what I learned. A quarter of all North Korean Christians are housed in concentration camps where inmates must face Nazi-style gas chambers and experimental torture techniques which defy comprehension. Even infants are subject to cruel experimentation.

This website gives shocking proof of what is going on inside North Korea and should be looked at by everyone in the civilized world.

Click here to read my political column in the Spokane Libertarian Examiner

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A box full of rocks

My parents came up to visit us for Christmas and brought a number of boxes of things I had enjoyed as a child for me to pass on to my own children. One of the boxes was a box of rocks.

But these were no ordinary rocks. They were the remains of the Berlin wall.

When I was eleven years old, I had the chance to travel to West Germany with my family. I will never forget the afternoon my dad drove us to the wall separating West and East Germany.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Food police take on Cheddar

I commented earlier in the year on the connection between nationalized health and totalitarianism, pointing out that when there is a direct link between the physical health of a populace and the nation's fiscal integrity (which there obviously is when government promises to pick up the tab on everyone's medical expenses), the state cannot help but develop an inordinate interest in keeping its citizens healthy.

If this be doubted, one need look no further than the UK. Whether it is the UK Government's campaign to get citizens to exercise while waiting for the bus or their more recent scheme to use taxpayers' pounds to subsidize "fat camps" (where infants will be put on 'weight management' courses), it is clear that a government that is responsible for health becomes a government that claims authority over health.

As if to confirm my concerns, I just read today that in a move to make the citizens of England eat more low and reduced-fat, the government's food police have gone on the attack against cheddar cheese - a foretaste of what America could be like after 50 years of nationalized health care.

Doesn't the government have anything better to do with tax payers' money than to worry about what kind of cheese its citizens are eating?

For further reading on the socialization of food, see my article 'Food is not a Private Matter'
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Monday, January 04, 2010

Climate Change Chicanery

The following is taken from Regis Nicoll's article 'Climate Change Chicanery'.

Take Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace. At a time when birth rates around the globe are falling below replacement levels, Mr. Watson writes that humans are “a virus . . . killing our host the planet Earth” which is in desperate need of an “invasive” cure. How invasive? “We need to radically and intelligently reduce human populations to fewer than one billion.”

After doing the math, that means 5.5 billion folks gotta go, and fast. I dunno, but I’m willing to bet that Mr. Watson doesn’t have his loved ones (or himself) signing onto that plan.

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