Friday, February 27, 2004

All the argument over the Passion really comes down to understanding the role of resources and being secure in your beliefs and willing to challenge yourself. Just because I read a book by a charismatic or some other maligned evangelist doesn't mean I am lining up with them theologically. You have to take things for what they are worth.
The Passion is not patently un-Biblical, neither is it inherantly Catholic, nor is it anti-Semetic. People have read their biases into the film and condemned it accordingly.
BTW, I saw it and was glad I saw it. It was not as shocking as I had thought, but it was definately intense. There were a few extra-Biblical scenes put in and Mary got alot of screen time but these mostly served to fill out the story, although I suppose I could have done without the Satan guy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Are you a Christian?

Regardless of the answer, go see the Passion at your local theater starting this Wednesday. I've got my tickets for Thursday night.
Normally, I am not too inclined to be caught up with the latest fad. But I feel like this is going to be a good thing. I know it is gruesome. But I want to be moved... I want to be shaken back to a real true appreciation of what Jesus did for me. If this movie can jolt me, I want it!
If you are not a Christian, then be prepared to see what God Himself suffered on behalf of all mankind. Including you. His hand is outstretched to you always for you to take it.
I have read enough previews to be comfortable recommending the movie.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

This from "eyesopened" under the TBC(Texas Baptist College, Longview TX) forum at the FFF. (Mrs. Ayres is the staff accountant at the church(Longview Baptist Temple)):
***
It seems that I am so often wrong, and yet I do try to be right. It's just that there are so many rules I cannot remember them all. Internet bad - LBT site good. Theatres bad, hoop earrings bad, button front skirts bad, movie rentals bad, TV bad, Andy Griffith good, Carol Burnett bad, eye makeup bad, Contemp. Christian music, bad, Patch the Pirate some good some bad, golfing good, football good, The Baptist good, Sword of the Lord bad, musical rhythm bad, sliding when singing bad, stoically singing with elbow in the air good, Bill Burr good, David Gibb bad, Dennis Corle was good - now bad, give it alls good, not paying your bills bad, LCA good, homeschooling bad (unless you are missionary and dont have any other choice then you just do the best you can, but dont expect much), working all weekend on busroutes and your job good, falling asleep in church very bad, hard preaching good, mean spirit bad, talking unkindly to staff very bad, Mrs. Ayres talking unkindly to staff good, submissive wives good, following one's husband away from LBT bad, posting on FFF bad, lurking on FFF good, inviting Dr Gray to speak good, trying to buy the tickets yourself to save money bad, character good, fatigue bad, questioning the preacher bad, having an opinion bad, not subscribing to the Baptist bad, making decisions bad, getting all your direction from "Preacher" good, hating your brother bad, cheering the "Preacher" on while your brother gets ripped to shreds and humiliated very good, immodesty bad, men with no shirts on bad, boxing good, churches using worldly methods to draw a crowd very bad, having "Preacher" escorted to the platform by dark shade wearing teen boys while an auditorium full of people stand to their feet in a rousing ovation good.
***
Now we know how the religious leaders in Israel prior to Christ came up with the Talmud.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Time for some computer related blogging. I have been intrigued by the advance in UWB (Ultra-Wideband). This technology promises to get rid of your USB and Firewire(IEEE1394) cables. Sounds good, except:
1. What does this mean for Bluetooth devices? Bluetooth would appear to be UWB just simply having less bandwidth(speed). Bluetooth adoption has been a little slow, but progressing. We just switched from IR to Bluetooth, please don't make me move to UWB this quick. Oh well. I just read that already companies are dropping Bluetooth...
2. Does this mean I am going to have to use battery-powered mice? With no cable, devices will have to be plugged into power. People don't normally connect mice to their electrical outlets. I don't see how mice and keyboards and other bus-powered devices will ever move away from corded connectivity to the PC. Please don't ask me to use battery-powered keyboards and mice.
3. Another issue related to #2 is simply this, that UWB takes away functionality in the sense that today, you can buy devices that are totally powered by the USB or Firewire busses. This is great for laptops. I have a scanner that takes it's power from the USB bus. No plugs or adapters! I would hate to see UWB cause companies to stop making bus powered devices.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Found on the FFF (not original):

I AM BACKSLIDEN

I. WHEN CALVARY DOESN'T BREAK ME.
II. WHEN SIN DOESN'T BOTHER ME
III. WHEN MISSING CHURCH DOESN'T BEREAVE ME.
IV. WHEN BIBLE STUDY DOESN'T BLESS ME
V WHEN PRAYERS DON'T BREATHE FROM ME
VI WHEN SATAN DOESN'T BATTLE ME.
VII. WHEN SOULS DON'T BURDEN ME.
VII. WHEN THE SAVIOR'S COMING DOESN'T BOOST ME.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Wrote this on the FFF today:

Saying something is wrong just because it is fleshly makes you an ascetic. And a legalist, if you impose your rule upon others. Paul had somewhat to say about this:

Colossians 2(NIV)

20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21 "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

This part of Col 2 is actually dealing with the world's religious setups and superstitions. "Separation" as preached by many IFBs, is little more than worldly thinking. And they do not restrain the flesh.

Monday, February 16, 2004

I like what was posted in the Secret Radio blog: We, as Christians, are ones for who Christ died. This is the highest station in life. He is our glory. To be proud of anything else is arrogance.
Our life is hid with Christ in God!!
The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me!!!
Come boldly to the throne of grace... find grace to help in time of need!!!!
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory!!!!!
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me!!!!!!
For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain!!!!!!!
Christ is my life, and He is the life, the true life, for every Christian! Not in a metaphorical way, but in a true, literal, real way! For me to live is Christ- take this literally!

Commitment is the mark of mature Christianity. In the local paper here in Virginia Beach we have religion section with a column by a woman who I really disagree with mostly but she made a good point the other day... Our relationship with Christ is like marriage... it starts fantastically, every day rejoicing in the presence of the other and wanting to be close... then the problems happen and sometimes you are not as close... but as your marriage continues it transforms more into a relationship of pure commitment. Do the times of fantastic presence and great rejoicing cease? No! They still happen. But they are icing on the cake... the commitment of the two partners becomes the core of the relationship. But my relationship, or marriage, with Christ is even better, because I am promised that even when I do not believe, He abides faithful!! He cannot deny Himself! We are one! And I find that although I wish He would show up more often, that in the times when it really counts, in the times when I am really on the line, he is faithful to show up and take care of me. May I model the example of Christ when the time comes for me to minister to the wife which God will give to me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
-Aristotle
The closer beliefs are to the heart the uglier disagreement will be. Now even in the case where two people hold "diametrically" opposing viewpoints, ugly disagreement does not need to be. Witness formal debates.
For most of us our emotions are about who we are and what we treasure, and what we can't give up. These emotions are rarely seated in objective reality except in the sense that the objectivity is selective. Thus we have people arguing from their emotions and giving many arguments but they will fall into logical fallicies because their emotions will dictate the assumption of facts not yet proven. This can be circular argument, this can be ad hominem attacks, this can be a "false dilemma", this can be any number of things. If this were the extent of the effects of arguing from emotion than it might be merely pitiable...
However, due to the nature of the defence when defending an issue that is tied in with the emotions, the individuals will resort to dehumanization in order to "win". Personal and ad hominem attacks are the hallmark of argumentation that is on it's last legs, and that exists merely to provide a facade of reason to the that person's viewpoint.
But there does exist a second response that is used by those who are challenged on an issue that has an emotional connection, or is close to the heart. This response is simply, "I just believe it." or, "I know I am right.", or "I respect your opinion." I think this is the best response for the person who finds its impossible, because of how they feel, to really tune in to the other side of the issue at hand. It is not a bad response in its own right. It implies that the person is not ready to think about the issue in the way they are being challenged, and that's OK.
Two problems can stem from this secondary response. The first is the zeal of challenger- when they recieve a response of that kind they smell the weakness and really lay into the person with all the facts. This is irresponsible and insensitive.
The second problem in this secondary response comes from the person making it. Instead of admitting the response to be what it is, they call it "faith" and then call the issue at hand "one of faith" and then turn on the challenger and accuse him of "not having faith" or "being in the intellect and not in the spirit." Such rebuttal ignores the critical connection between faith and spirit-led reason. God gave us our brains for a purpose.
Many of those who find themselves frequently in opposition to other viewpoints need to bear in mind the limitations of arguing with someone whose emotions are part of the issue. The answer is of no value if the question is not being asked. Be a friend and make an emotional investment in them, and let them open up to you and trust you of their own accord. Then you have enough of the person's respect to gently approach the issue.
As Christians the value in persuading others to the truth and giving an answer is not to vindicate our rightness but to enrich and minister to the other in love. This can't be done if we are dehumanizing our opponents and treating them with disrespect.
All sides are guilty of forgetting that bit of wisdom at times.
Letter #2 about the role of parents as the child grows:

Despite my concerns with some of your teaching it does not mean much unless there is a alternate understanding that makes equal or better sense with Scripture. I want to start by quoting what is probably the pivotal passage on this topic, Gen 2:18-24:

18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.


The directive of God in v.24 is proceeded with a "therefore" obviously referring to the previous Scripture. In examining the chapter up to this point with regard to the man's divine commission upon the earth, God places Adam where He wants him, and then gives the directives to keep the garden and to avoid the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. After that, God calls upon Adam to name the animals.
The issue of like partnership for the man Adam does not appear until v.18. What is interesting here is that at this point in Gen 2 it appears that even Adam is not yet aware of his need for companionship, perhaps assuming that one or another of the animals can provide it. Adam is forced to realize in v.20 that none of the animals would do.
God then places him in a deep sleep for the purpose of creating a "help meet" for him- or rather, companion fit to Adam's needs. God does this by taking out of Adam. He then brings His creation to the man, and they become one in v.23.
The "therefore" than signifies that the reason for the directive of v.24 is several fold:
1. Man needs companionship(v18).
2. God has created woman to meet this need(v22).
3. God desires that man find his need for like companionship met in the woman He created(v18).
One important thing to note is that, Adam had no human parents. The important idea of v.24 then, is not transferral of authority, but the change in commitment from one relationship to another. The point is not that the bride(groom) has stayed with their parents until the wedding day(which might be an impossible, impractical, or unwise state of affairs in any case), but that the marital relationship takes precedance over the parental relationship once the vows have been exchanged.
In OT Jewish culture the concept of tribe was very important and families often lived close together. For this reason, young men and women often did not leave their parents house until marriage. This does not mean that they never left before marriage. Samson, Jacob, Elisha, and David are just a few of the Biblical examples of this. Understanding the commandment of Gen 2:24 within this cultural context (as Moses would have expected the nation of Israel to understand it), Gen 2:24 basically tells the newlywed, that if you have not set up your own house by now, you are to do it.
Carrying your teaching (that children are to stay under their parents all the way to the marriage altar) to its logical extreme results in very odd situations a few of which I mentioned in my previous email. Another is that you have no consistant, Biblical basis for exempting the widowed or legitimately divorced individual from coming back under the full rule and authority of their parents. By making this exemption you implictly allow for the freedom of any unmarried child so long as they maintain their own home. (Which freedom I believe the Scripture allows for in any case.)
By teaching that parental authority continues until the altar, you must also acknowledge that it ends at the altar, and provide a technical "out" for any person to declare a complete end to all allegiance to their parents at marriage(with the possible exception of material support).
A few more points I will stop and wait for you to say something, I promise!
Your teaching:
1. Makes it doubly hard for the parent to let go because they will probably feel like they need to maintain a certain level of authority until the wedding day. The parent cannot "fade" out of the picture.
2. Makes marriage an "out" and a necessary evil to young people who would like to move on with their lives.
3. Creates a huge probability that the child will "snap" away from the parents at marriage and feel resentment for being held on to.
4. Ensures that the child will probably harm their children by allowing them too much freedom in an over-reaction to what they felt was undue control by their parents.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

As I promised, here is part one of the letter that I wrote to an old associate pastor I knew who teaches that children remain under the authority of their parents until the altar. I will post responses as they come (leaving out the name and personal details of course).

[...]
1. If the will of God for the child is follow the will of parents, then it makes no sense for the child to labor in prayer and fasting to determine God's personal will for their life. I mean here that present-and-now will of God, not a life's goal. It is one thing to understand that God wants you to go to such-and-such a land, it is another thing to understand what changes God wants you to make in your present circumstance. It is this latter will of God that I speak of. Either the parent is always correct in their assessment of what God's will is for their child, or else they are sometimes wrong. (I do not imagine that it is always wrong except in the case where the parent is covering their own manipulation with spiritual language- but that is a another problem.) If the parent is always right, then for the child to seek God's will in a matter is a pointless duplication of effort; if the parent is sometimes wrong, then ascertaining God's will is futile since the child is obliged to yield to parent.
Beyond the immediate problem of turning a child away from seeking the Lord is the further problem of inhibiting the growth that would come from such a practice, including a better understanding of how to get hold of God and the natural consequence of faith-building.
It is naive to imagine that a parent would always seek to tandem with their young adult in determining God's will.

2. If the will of God for the child is to follow their parents, then there is no provision made in the case where the parent is using their authority along with spiritual language to get what they want. This is more of an issue than you might wish to believe. It is an epidemic among Christians to confuse their flesh or soul with their Spirit, substituting their own fleshly or emotional desires for the pure will of God. Add in the emotional bond a parent forms with a child and this becomes a very real danger.
Such cloaking of personal desires on the part of the parent is not always conscious and rarely malicious, but in most cases the parent is in denial. These issues can arise from the simple situation in which a mother can't let go, to a more complex situation where the parent(s) are experiencing co-dependency issues. This type of problem is exacerbated when dealing with a single parent who has no spouse to keep their emotional excess in check.
It is obviously a more serious problem when the intent is malicious, although I have not seen this type of situation up close.
The parent who is affected with a dependency disorder or undue emotional attachment of some type can use their veto power to effectively keep the child from ever marrying.


3. If the will of God for the child is to follow their parents, no provision is made for when, through the denial of the innocent parent, non-physical abuse is being experienced by the child. Perhaps the father does drugs and comes home high and, like a typical druggie, has trouble controlling his emotions. Or else perhaps the mother is bringing lewd materials into the house. In such a case, the alert spouse will separate the children from it; but the case which I speak of is when the spouse goes on in denial and stays with the other allowing the children to experience this abuse. And furthermore, in their God-given role, the parent in denial will not allow even the young adult children to leave the home.

4. If the will of God for the child is to follow their parents, no provision is made if the parents are not truly born again and are following false doctrine. Before you answer that your teaching would only apply to born again parents, realize that the definition of born again would be a "football" in such a situation with parent claiming their "God-given right" to teach their children "true" Christianity trumping whatever the child will claim to have learned. If your child decided that works were necessary for salvation, he/she could remove himself under the condition that you, in their eyes, were not truly born again. If you allow such a determination on the part of the child to not be valid in relation to Baptist parents, you may also not let it be valid with parents of other denominations- and vice versa. You have to realize that many a Catholic or Lutheran feel strongly about their faith just as much as you.
The parent in such a case can use their veto power concerning a marriage partner to prevent the child from leaving the home until the child lines up with them doctrinally.

A few questions:

1. Was the prodigal's father right in letting his son go?
2. What would be a situation in which a never-married child would show that his love for Christ would be greater than his love for his parents?
3. If a child is called to be a eunuch, how is that an exception to your teaching?
4. If the young unmarried adult is beholden to the parents then what did Paul mean when he said that the single person is free to serve the Lord?
5. Was Christ the only one qualified to temporarily take exception to his parent's obvious wishes to remain with them on account of attending to His Father's business? If so, why?
6. Does the statement of the Apostle Peter in Acts that it is better to obey God rather than man apply to the never-married child? How and why or why not?
7. Psa 127:3 and I Pet 5:3 tell us two groups of people that are God's heritage. Eph 6:1 and Heb 13:17 call both to obedience. Exo 20:12 and I Tim 5:17 call both to honor. I Jhn 2:19 and Eph 5:31 warn about leaving the relationships of each. I Cor 9:14 and I Tim 5:4 give the leaders of each power to be compensated. How then are the responsibilities of the followers to the leaders in these relationships different?

Monday, February 09, 2004

Added a few blogs I visit to the side bar.
You know you've had a good vacation when you come back home and your house and work feel like a strange place. I love that feeling.
I finally recieved an email back from someone I know who teaches that the child should stay under the full authority of the parent until marriage. I had felt that this type of teaching could lead to problems. I will post my initial email to him tomorrow...

Friday, February 06, 2004

I HATE PROXY SERVERS! Still in FL, surfing at a library, which is using a proxy server. Thank goodness my library at home does not use a proxy server. A proxy server is a machine through which all web requests go- thus, the name proxy. On any one machine there can only be ~65K internet connections concurrent. So when you have a proxy server that is being used for an entire organization it gets bogged down, bad. I had the same thing happen when I worked at Gateway. They used a proxy server and internet access was a pain. There is no reason to use a proxy server anymore- you can set up a firewall to do content filtering and get much better performance. Much. The only use I have found for proxy servers is for mobile users to ensure they do not access the internet through another network... set up a proxy, then set the proxy on the laptop and lock down the settings. But that is the lone good use of a proxy I can think of. GRRRR....
Public internet access is annoying for another reason... people staring at you. GRRRRR.... Go away already, you know?
Of course time limits on these computers are a joke when their proxy server has bogged down to the point where internet access is all but impossible.
If you are on a public access computer and run into these types of problems, the refresh button is your friend. If a page never seems to load hit the refresh button which will resend the request to the proxy. Beware of this method, though, if you are on a secure site (https://).
Later! :)

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Well, my vacation has stretched out through the end of the week and I have made the decision to move. That's not why I took the vacation, but it is a decision made while on vacation. Got that? :)
For a while now I have been feeling like God has only allowed me just enough to get by (I almost cringe to say that because I am indeed grateful to Him). I wonder why things aren't happening. Over the last few months, maybe a year some things have been happening to suggest a move. Now I don't really want to move- or rather, I didn't want to move, but I do now. I like where I am and that's just fine with me. Perhaps God figured since I was so accepting of an average lifestyle He would just give me average blessings.
In any case I felt like God wasn't coming through for me. (How selfish, I know, but am I not His child?)
Well the idea of moving to a certain place was still coming at me but I resisted, I wanted some real sign, I guess. I wanted God to speak, but I had some things to learn about the Holy Spirit. I always wondered about the Holy Spirit.
In I Jhn 5:8 the Bible tells us of the 3 earthly witnesses for God: the Spirit, the water, and the Word. Well, that's the Holy Spirit, the church, and the Word incarnate, whose commands are recorded for us in Scripture.
I don't have any problem with the Word. I believe Jesus existed and the gospels are true; I believe the authenticity of the Scriptures.
I sort of have a problem with the church. I have seen the member's of God's church act anything other than Godly. But of course that is because they live deceitfully, not allowing God to work in them. So I don't really have a problem with the church.
But where is the Spirit? Isn't the Spirit supposed to tell us things? Is the communication of the Spirit a feeling, a thought, an emotion? A pang from the conscience?
So the Spirit makes no sense when defined in the traditional way as in "The Lord spoke to me...." because I certainly have not been hearing heavenly voices. The Scriptures say there is no more open vision.
The Spirit makes no sense when defined as, "I feel like the Lord wants me to..." because I feel like a lot of things, which are not Godly.
I have to go back to Philippians 2 which tells us: "for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Who is God that worketh in us, and how? The Holy Spirit works within the Christian. So the Holy Spirit causes us to will what is right.
Jhn 16 tells us the Spirit is a guide, and He speaks not of Himself, but of those things which Jesus has said. Certainly given the fact that this is spoken to the Apostles then this saying is fulfilled in the completion of the NT.
But the Holy Spirit is sealed within all believers (Eph 1). So He is a guide to us as well, but we have the Scriptures. There is no more open revelation. He is a guide to us, revelatory only in the sense that He makes clear the things of God in Scripture.
The Holy Spirit fulfills His role as a teacher. The Holy Spirit also has the role of Sanctifier. The Holy Spirit may often prohibit by smiting us through our conscience. The Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgement. These things make up the witness of the Spirit. But He doesn't reveal God's will in the direct way that most Christians claim.
In Acts 16:7 the Spirit prohibited the Apostle Paul from going to Bithynia. Well, why didn't the Apostle Paul consult the Holy Spirit first? Because he understood that God expects us to use our wisdom and follow His commands in taking the opportunities afforded by His providence.
This is how to find God's will. If you know the scriptures, and have prayed to God for wisdom, take the open door confidently. If you don't have the faith to go through with an action, don't. It is sin to you.
I wasn't confident with this move for the longest time. So I didn't do it. But I think God wanted it. God in His time gave me the wisdom to see that my emotions were standing in the way of my taking the door that God in His providence had opened for me. It was the battle of fear. Fear to move forward. Fear to lose what I had.
Unless a Christian is sinning, he has nothing to fear. God won't let you take the wrong path, He has set his angels watch, and in His providential care will guide you. Fear not.