Saturday, October 11, 2008

Crucial Questions for Catholics

Crucial Questions For Catholics

The link above goes to a very interesting article I recommend to all Catholics. There is more material available on the site. Full Disclaimer: I am not Catholic, and I do not believe in Catholicism. I have some Catholic friends, and mean offense to no one, but I have a very different view of salvation. Perhaps you (the reader) will never agree with me theologically, but please take time to read and consider what has been written with Catholics in mind.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tired of Blogging

I've noticed something about bloggers. Some are born to blog, some blog because they can, and others just blog. I have finally come to the conclusion that I belong to that third category. What I had expected to be a source of fulfillment has mostly proved just to be a drain of energy. I actually enjoy reading the writing talents of others and commenting much more, so from here on out I will focus almost exclusively on that.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Removed Two Posts

After taking time in reflection, I have removed my two posts concerning Liberal Baptists. What I said was in anger and scorn, and not in Christ-likeness. Though I believe very differently from those whom I would identify as "liberal" or even "moderate," my proud, arrogant tone was sinful and the only solution I know of is to remove my posts and admit my error.

I do not know if anyone actually reads any of these, but if so, you have my apologies for posting them. I pray for wisdom to not repeat this mistake. And above that, I pray for wisdom in seeking to teach and proclaim the Word of God accurately, under the Lordship of Christ and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Please pray for me in this regard.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Theme Song For Cain

Genesis 4:10-14 (King James Version)

10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.

11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand;

12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.

13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.

14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.

One of my favorite songs is "Wherever I May Roam" by Metallica. If there was ever a theme song for Cain, this is probably it. Maybe it's not an exact match, but I sense the same strains of spiritual lostness and unsettledness here. Or at least, I think so.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Blessed Gift of Salvation

The necessity and excellency of God's gift of salvation have both weighed heavily on my mind in recent days. The world is lost and dead in sin. Without Christ there is no hope, no light, and no rescue. My personal belief and full conviction is that only Christ can give us redemption, and the redemption He offers is perfect and complete. He has offered to God the perfect sacrifice, Himself who knew no sin, to make us who believe in Him acceptable to God and to separate us from our sins which in Him are paid in full. We are sealed with promise by the Holy Spirit of God waiting for a sure home in heaven in the bosom of the Father with all our hopes resting and wonderfully satisfied in Christ.

I am making a personal exception and posting this message to both blogs, even though the Byroniac blog is technical in nature, because of the importance of this message.

Please, if you are not a Christian (or even if you are!), take the time to read this site and consider it carefully.
Beginning Steps

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gene Edwards Books

I'm interested in books by Gene Edwards.

Especially, I'm interested in Beyond Radical.

*EDIT* 05/16/2008 You really should read the first chapter here. I read it and immediately ordered the book (with others by this author). This should be an encouraging read.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Be Skeptical of the Skeptics

I came across an interesting article on the website of the Skeptic magazine.

www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/08-04-09.html

Now I don't want to make a regular habit of this certainly, but the linked article interested me, and probably will you as well. However, as a Christian, obviously I approach this from a critical perspective. But I admit, I have learned something.

You should be skeptical of the Skeptics.

I'll keep my commentary on this fairly short, by my standards anyway. I only plan to make a few comments, and then write a few words in closing at the end. Please understand one thing, however. Though I attempt to persuade to my perspective, feel free to disagree. I admit to having a minority view.

Quote:

Gold begins his book with a series of chapters detailing the Old Testament’s failure to live up to the Orthodox claim that it is the word of God rather than the writings of men. This begins with the failure of biblical claims to match archaeology. There is, despite exhaustive attempts on the part of biblical archaeologists — many of whom were and are either committed Christians or devout Jews — no evidence of the presence of large numbers of Hebrews in late Bronze Age Egypt (i.e. the Egyptian captivity), nor is there any evidence of either the Exodus or the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites as detailed in the Book of Joshua. Nor is there any evidence of the united monarchy under David and Solomon. Further, while the Bible claims that the army of Sennacherib, King of Assyria, which was besieging Jerusalem, was miraculously annihilated by the angel of the Lord in a single night and that King Hezekiah triumphed over the Assyrians (2 Kings 19:35–37), [1] history and archaeology instead support the Assyrian version of events, that Sennacherib sacked and devastated every city of Judah but Jerusalem, and [2] that Hezekiah paid a huge tribute to the Assyrians just to hang on to Jerusalem and its environs. [emphasis and enumeration mine]

Response:

I cannot comment on the first part concerning the historical evidence as I am neither an archaeologist nor a historian. But rather than responding in my actual state as an amateur "armchair" theologian, I will simply respond to number one above by referencing the Bible itself as a piece of literature. An omission in the article has been made. I do not know whether it is intentional or accidental, but it certainly is an omission worthy of note. Refer to 2 Kings 18:13 for the answer. Does not the Bible itself admit as such? If so, and especially if agreement comes from the very text under discussion in their critical perspective, why not use it? This is at the very least an error of ignoring or failing to research the literature itself.

The second part is easily answered by the same chapter of Scripture. 2 Kings 18:14-16 are the very next verses to note. And this charge is also admitted here, though in a different sense (however, the spiritual error on Hezekiah's part in doing this is beyond the scope of this post). So why not refer to this as well?

Quote:

Gold also details the failure of the biblical claim of divine retribution and the failure of biblical prophecies. [1] A spectacular example of the good being punished, while the bad obviously get off free is to be found at the end of 2 Kings. Manasseh, the evil king of Judah who worshipped other gods, and consulted soothsayers and wizards, enjoyed a long and peaceful reign (692–639 BCE, 53 years), while King Josiah, the greatest among Judah’s reformers was killed in battle when he was only 37. Josiah was only eight when he took the throne. He reigned from 638–609 BCE, a total of 29 years, much of it when he was in his minority. So why did the evil King Manasseh prosper, while the good King Josiah was cut off in his youth? [2] The Bible explains it this way (2 Kings 23:25–26): [emphasis and enumeration mine]

And like unto him there was no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and all his soul, and all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him. Notwithstanding, the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal.

Response:

Both of these parts suffer from a similar type of very important omission. I believe the persons responsible for the article I quote from above have been careless in the use of their one and only literary source. The answer here is not to be found in the book of 2 Kings, but over in 2 Chronicles which references the same historical events from a different perspective, sometimes giving more information as it does here than what is found in the parallel passage of 2 Kings. Again, these omissions are vital.

Omitted is the fact that Manessah, as evil as he was, repented before the Lord and appears to do so genuinely, according to 2 Chronicles 33:9-19,22-23. Again, please understand this is not necessarily offered as a theological explanation (though it certainly could serve as that for the subject matter of a future blog post), but simply as a reference to the literature itself and its content on a particular subject matter. On this note, it does not matter if you are a Christian, or a Jew, or if you even believe this passage of the Bible at all. But looking at the given literary evidence honestly and objectively should make the omission of the e-Skeptic article readily apparent. The question at this point is not, what do you believe, but, will you honestly admit what the literature says and quote it not only accurately but sufficiently and in context?

Again, concerning Josiah in the second part, I will speak of the final omission (for the scope of this blog post) which must be answered. 2 Chronicles 35:20-25, especially verses 21 and 22, answer this, primarily from a theological perspective, but adequately even from our pure literary perspective. The Bible here, as a piece of literature, asserts that Josiah disobeyed a commandment of the Lord and faced the divine punishment warned in the text and described as destruction. Verse 26 affirms even more firmly than the article (in my opinion) that Josiah was to be considered a very good person, based at least on the authority of the piece of literature in question. These are important points that should not be overlooked or casually dismissed.

If the article had taken just these points alone into consideration, a very different article would have been the result. I cannot say with any authority what quality the resulting article would have when compared to this original, of course. I am not even saying that such corrections to the article need to be requested. I believe they do need to be made, personally, and as I approach the article from an admittedly critical perspective, I must reject its conclusions as well as much of its content, as I have demonstrated above. However, I do not have hope that the article itself will be revised or removed.

Now I have a question for you, the reader. Are you a Christian? Do you claim to believe in Christ and profess His name? Do you care for the things of God and especially His Word? Wonderful, and very good! Remember that ultimately you cannot prove that the Bible is true (which I believe requires the new birth by the Spirit in order to fully believe). However, also remember that God can use you or even me or anyone He chooses to explain and defend His Word, in any situation. His Word is more important than we are. And Christ reigns supreme over us.

If you are not a Christian, may I please refer you to Alpha and Omega Ministries website (with whom I have no affiliation other than financial support and strong endorsement of their materials) at www.aomin.org which has the excellent audio message, "Why I am a Christian". This is a short audio message of less than 30 minutes, and I strongly recommend it. It is a free MP3 download and if you have never heard it, I hope and pray you will listen today and consider carefully what you hear.

Last Edited: 04-Apr-2008 12:56 A.M. Reason: Fix typos and etc. And felt like it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Absolut Nonsense

(OK. Here's another one screaming, "Blog me!")

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080408/us_nm/mexico_absolut_dc

First of all, it's a beautiful map and very pleasing to the eye (ignoring actual content and contemporary implications of course).

But, let us go to the Absolut blog site (if you want; I'll quote the relevant portion below):
http://www.absolut.com/iaaw/blog/in-an-absolut-world-according-to-mexico

And I quote, "This particular ad, which ran in Mexico, was based upon historical perspectives and was created with a Mexican sensibility. In no way was this meant to offend or disparage, nor does it advocate an altering of borders, nor does it lend support to any anti-American sentiment, nor does it reflect immigration issues. Instead, it hearkens to a time which the population of Mexico may feel was more ideal." [emphasis mine]

Boy! Talk about speaking out of both sides of your mouth at once! Seems like this happened once before, though, when white men made empty promises to Native Americans and one of these "Indians" accurately (if cynically) assessed the white man as speaking out of both sides of his mouth. However, it's not just white men with this problem, but the entire human race. We should really call it what it is, lying. We're all guilty of it, more often than we think.

I understand where Absolut is coming from. They are trying to sell a product. In doing so, they are appealing to (or taking advantage of) the target market's sensibilities. That means throwing a believable sales pitch aimed at acquiring money from a buyer for the product which is being sold, within legal and hopefully ethical boundaries. So of course the advertising wasn't intended for America, not because of American sensibilities, but because offending those sensibilities also hurts sales of your product in the American market. Read between the lines, and follow the money (if you do, you'll see this applies for any market anywhere, including and especially for my perspective the American one).

What offends me about this advertising is not so much that Absolut is trying to make a buck or two by appealing to "Mexican sensibilities" (whatever that means, which most likely means advertising that appeals to Mexicans and offends Americans when targeted to the Mexican market, at least here I think). What offends me is that they expect me to believe the nonsense above, that such advertising concepts should not be offensive to Americans and are not designed to offend Americans (of course not, only because they were not targeted to our market, and Absolut deliberately and wisely did not make us aware of their existence, but I digress). That is ridiculous.

I have another phrase for this, and here's what it's called.

Absolut Nonsense.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Free Good News

This is not an endorsement (have not had time yet to investigate more thoroughly), just a link to an interesting page with free Christian resources.

Am I Too Cynical?

Goodness gracious.

Sometimes life just hands you blogging material and demands, "Blog Me!" It is not really the quantity that counts, but the quality. Today's post is short but potent.

This morning, I read that John McCain thinks Americans are too cynical. Directly beneath this, I read news of THIRD graders plotting a physical attack against their teacher. Well, at least they are well out of kindergarten now, and no sir, I do not believe I am too cynical quite yet. Thanks, though, for the concern.

P.S. Look at the picture in the news story for an idea of what these kids had in mind. Wonder if TV and movies are a bad influence in our culture? But then again, we are all basically good, and these are good kids. Most certainly. We adults are indeed far too cynical!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

When God Wears You Out

Job 42:1-6 (ESV)

1 Then Job answered the LORD and said:

2 “I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.

4 ‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.’

5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;

6 therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”

This has truly been a blessed evening.

We're having a Bible conference at the church I belong to, which started Thursday night and will continue through Sunday morning. And I haven't really cared until tonight, after the services. I came to church in bitterness and rebellion against God, and left filled with mercy and grace in Christ, with I hope more than a little genuine repentance.

That brings me to my point, and I hope this post will not be overly long.

God can and will wear you out.

When you finally get tired of pleading your own will to God, when you finally have enough trying to bargain your will against His, when you finally give up trying to get your way, struggling to move the Divine Hand of mercy and grace away from His channel of blessing, just like Joseph attempted at his father Jacob's blessing of the two boys Ephraim and Manessah, you realize that God can and did wear you out. When you have ground down to the last bone-dry measure of stubbornness, and collapse wearied and spent, you find Him and His will unchanged. Exhausted, drained of stubbornness and rebellion, with no where to go but down on your knees in prayer and up in humble reverence and submission to the One who sits on the throne, Christ Jesus the Lord and Redeemer of His own, the time finally arrives that you humble yourself, quietly submit, and worship Him who alone is Lord and God, who rules in Sovereign Majesty and Eternal Dominion, who sits enthroned, exalted, and eternal in the Heavens, without needing or requesting your permission or recognition of His right to be exactly who He is: Jesus Christ, Lord and God.

Praise God! Hallelujah!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Why Christ Offends Men

Why Christ Offends Men
Just an interesting post I stumbled across.

Alcohol: Sinful or Not?

The Bible takes the position that the consumption of alcohol is not sinful, when done righteously without drunkenness.
ISSUE: Does Scripture Permit Us to Drink Alcoholic Beverages?

In the interest of fairness, the entire exchange can be found here:

Friday, January 18, 2008

When Some Baptists Get To Heaven

It's time for a silly rant (well, maybe not, but I just can't help myself).

When some Baptists get to heaven, and find out Heaven doesn't look like a Baptist church, they will start off eternity in a state of shock. They'll look around, and pews, pianos, and people in three-piece suits will be nowhere to be found. And the last straw just may well be legions and legions of angels doing praise and worship, instead of all those nifty old hymns.

I'm making humorous exaggeration, of course. I actually enjoy many hymns. Many could use some speeding up, and maybe some more musical instrumentation. But some of these hymns are beautiful (like "Man of Sorrows"), and will always be cherished in my heart.

Rats. I messed up a good rant. I must be in a better mood than I thought.

*EDIT* I do not believe that angels can, or at least do, sing. Luke 2:13 (ESV) says, "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying," According to this, the angels at the birth of Jesus were not singing. And to the best of my memory, no angel anywhere in Scripture ever sings.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Come Out Of The Catholic Church

I read this excellent short article on the Ankerberg Theological Research Institute, titled Come Out Of The Catholic Church. This article briefly explains the profound errors in Catholicism, and is well worth the read. (EDIT: also recommended is Just For Catholics)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy is an important document which is now almost 30 years old. What better way to start out the new year than by reaffirming God's Word. Hopefully you will find this both interesting and helpful.

http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/creeds/chicago.htm

Others by Google (and no offense to any I didn't include here).