Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Where in the World is Sean and Ruth Carroll?

I can't imagine having a 24th birthday like this...

Veni Vidi Vinci

...I came, I saw, I led a Da Vinci seminar.

Please pray for me as I begin a seminar on the Da Vinci Code tonight at Bilberry Creek Baptist Church in Ottawa. It's scheduled for two weeks, but probably will continue as people have questions and issues to resolve. There will be non-believers there most likely. Pray that I would have wisdom and knowledge and "prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks me for a reason for the hope that is in me" (1 Pet. 3:15).

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Quiz Result: Dead On

Your Scholastic Strength Is Deep Thinking

You aren't afraid to delve head first into a difficult subject, with mastery as your goal.
You are talented at adapting, motivating others, managing resources, and analyzing risk.

You should major in:

Philosophy
Music
Theology
Art
History
Foreign language

Preemptive Grace

"Christian theology teaches the doctrine of prevenient grace, which briefly stated means this, that before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man. Before a sinful man can think a right thought of God, there must have been a work of enlightenment done within him; imperfect it may be, but a true work nonetheless, and the secret cause of all desiring and seeking and praying which may follow.

We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. 'No man can come to me,' said our Lord, 'except the Father which hath sent me draw him,' and it is by this very prevenient drawing that God takes from us every vestige of credit for he act of coming. The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him; and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand: 'Thy right hand upholdeth me.' In this divine 'upholding' and human 'following' there is no contradiction. All is of God, for as von Hugel teaches, God is always previous."

-A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, opening paragraphs (the whole text is also online for free).

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Proud Papa


Monday, May 22, 2006

Everyone Has a Morning Ritual

I was just fooling around with a drawing tool in Microsoft Word and I got carried away.

Radars for the Lost Ark

My good friend David Graves just returned from Turkey on a reconnaissance mission to Mount Ararat. David, with the Archaeological Imaging Research Consortium (ArcImaging), will be conducting an expedition to the peak of the biblical mountain and will be using ground penetrating radar for the first time on the icecap to search for any evidence of man-made objects, especially those made of wood. His trip dealt mostly with meeting with the Turkish government. See some photos of Ararat and Hittite ruins on his blog here.

Congratulations, David, on a successful trip. Godspeed in July!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Science

"Science and religion are not at odds.
Science is simply too young to understand."
-Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, pg. 70

Friday, May 12, 2006

Belief In Yourself

"THOROUGHLY worldly people never understand even the world; they rely altogether on a few cynical maxims which are not true. Once I remember walking with a prosperous publisher, who made a remark which I had often heard before; it is, indeed, almost a motto of the modern world. Yet I had heard it once too often, and I saw suddenly that there was nothing in it. The publisher said of somebody, "That man will get on; he believes in himself." And I remember that as I lifted my head to listen, my eye caught an omnibus on which was written "Hanwell" [the lunatic asylum in London]. I said to him, "Shall I tell you where the men are who believe most in themselves? For I can tell you. I know of men who believe in themselves more colossally than Napoleon or Caesar. I know where flames the fixed star of certainty and success. I can guide you to the thrones of the Super-men. The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums."

He said mildly that there were a good many men after all who believed in themselves and who were not in lunatic asylums. "Yes, there are," I retorted, "and you of all men ought to know them. That drunken poet from whom you would not take a dreary tragedy, he believed in himself. That elderly minister with an epic from whom you were hiding in a back room, he believed in himself. If you consulted your business experience instead of your ugly individualistic philosophy, you would know that believing in himself is one of the commonest signs of a rotter. Actors who can't act believe in themselves; and debtors who won't pay. It would be much truer to say that a man will certainly fail, because he believes in himself.

Complete self-confidence is not merely a sin; complete self-confidence is a weakness. Believing utterly in one's self is a hysterical and superstitious belief like believing in Joanna Southcote: the man who has it has `Hanwell' written on his face as plain as it is written on that omnibus." And to all this my friend the publisher made this very deep and effective reply, "Well, if a man is not to believe in himself, in what is he to believe?" After a long pause I replied, "I will go home and write a book in answer to that question." This is the book that I have written in answer to it."

-G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Be Born Twice

Be born once, die twice. Be born twice, die once.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Adam's Race

I am literally sick and deeply disturbed by people who claim to be Christians, even Reformed Christians, who are so carnal, ignorant, and just plainly deceived, that they uphold a philosophy of racism. For several years now I have been aware of a site called Little Geneva. Not only do they perpetually betray themsleves as morons, they are the worst theologians I've ever seen!

I wish I could brush them off as some fringe group of toothless rednecks, not worth a response. But their dragnet has scooped up so many Christians that they are now a semi-semi-mainstream group of toothless rednecks. We should all pray that churches would discipline such people.

Racism defined is simply a belief that races exist, which is Darwinian through and through. Let's argue about cultures if you want. Let's discuss the superiority and inferiority of various cultures. But there is only one race according to Scripture, and it is the benai Adam, sons of Adam. There are different ethnic groups. Different national identities. The Babel incident provoked God to separate all of humanity lingusitically. Ok, let's debate English language supremacy. But races do not exist. And even if they did, White Anglos couldn't be further from a Mesopotamian/Edenic gene pool.

I do believe that there are specific marks of a Christian culture: monogamy, sanctity of life, modesty, patriarchal nuclear family, etc. Thus, tribes in Africa that practice the opposite of these, I would say, are an inferior and poor culture. I do not believe in a sort of anthropological relativism tha is toted today in the UN. I believe that when missionaries were teaching a so-called "Western" style of music to the heathen it was actually a Christian style, having been developed over almost two millennia of Christian worship. And yes, I'm a proponent of Christian supremacy, as God decreed. The Old Testament saints were prohibitted intermarriage always due to RELIGION. When the Faith was national, as it was for Israel, then marrying outside of Israel obviously is being unequally yoked. Now that the Faith transcends national/ethnic boundaries (Matt 28:19) the problem is not ethnic intermarriage, but marrying a non-Christian.

To even acknowledge separate races of mankind implicates a belief in evolution, which of course these "Christian" racists would deny whole-heartedly. Christianity is not a white religion. It's a semitic one. To be derogatory towards Jews just because they are Jews makes me wonder if these fools all have pictures of Euro Jesus on their walls, you know, the Salvador Dali blonde, blue-eyed, clean shaven edition of Yeshua (Oh wait, these folks probably also interpret the second commandment to prohibit the representation of human Jesus).

Now I know they would all call me a Yankee with some warped transcendentalist, Boston Brahmin worldview. But I guess that's ok, seeing that I called them toothless trailerpark hicks. I don't want to hurt their feelings any more than I already have, but if "y'all" knew how to read good, you should try reading the Bible some day.

Harvard Student Requirements

Here's a selection from the 1642 and 1700 editions of the Harvard College Laws. I wonder if students are still held to these gems:

1.Everyone competent to read Cicero or any other classic author of that kind extemporaneously, and also to speak and write Latin prose and verse with tolerable skill and without assistance, and of declining the Greek nouns and verbs, may expect to be admitted to the College: if deficient in any of these qualifications, he cannot under any circumstances be admitted.

2. Every one shall consider the mayne End of his life and studyes, to know God and Jesus Christ which is Eternall life. Joh. 17.3.

5. In the publicke Church assembly they shall carefully shunne all gestures that shew any contempt or neglect of Gods ordinances and bee ready to give an account to their tutors of their profiting and to use the helpes of Storing themselves with knowledge, as their tutours shall direct them, and all Sophisters and Bachellors (until themselves make common place) shall publiquely repeate Sermons in the Hall whenver they are called forth.

6. they shall eschew all prophanation of Gods holy name, attributes, word, ordinances, and times of worship, and study with Reverence and love carefully to reteine God and his truth in their minds.

-No one must, under any pretext, be found in the society of any depraved or dissolute person.

8. All students must refrain from wearing rich and showy clothing, nor must anyone go out of the college yard, unless in his gown, coat, or cloak.

14. If any student is absent from prayers, or recitation, unless necessarily detained, or by permission of the President or tutor, he shall be liable to an admonition

16. If any student shall, either through wilfulness or negligence, violate any law of God or of this college, after being twice admonished, he shall suffer severe punishment, at the discretion of the President or his tutor.

17. Every student who, on trial, shall be able to translate from the original Latin text, and logically to explain the Holy Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament, and shall also be thoroughly acquainted with the principles of natural and moral philosophy, and shall be blameless in life and character, and approved at public examination by the President and the Fellows of the College, may receive the first degree. Otherwise, no one shall be admitted to the first degree in Arts...

18. Every scholar who has maintained a good standing, and exhibited a written synopsis of logic, natural and moral philosophy, arithmetic and astronomy, and shall be prepared to defend a proposition or thesis; shall also be versed in the original languages, as aforesaid: and who carries with him a reputation for upright character and diligence in study, and shall pass successfully a public examination, shall be admitted to the second, or Master's degree.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Two in the Bush

Watch one of the funniest moments on television here.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Birthday Belly Rub!

I'd like to send out a Happy Birthday belly rub to my man Gautama Buddha who turns 2,569 years old today! From all of us at the Wicket Gate, we'd like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for leading over 500 million souls astray. Cheers!

Wicket Gate Mail Bag

I thought "fan mail" would sound a bit too presumtuous.
I'd like to share a poem that was emailed to me from Jon Caudle, the Polyphonic Poet from Missouri:

The Belli's done it, once again,
And found a psycho to expose
Before, Mainline Darwinians,
Now, Disp-Sensational wackos.
Now, ev'ry head bowed, ev'ry eye closed ...
.
Mr. Caudle, I am honored, and I thank you.
.
*All original odes, ballads, sonnets, and classical epics submitted to the Wicket Gate are greatly appreciated.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Jack Van Idiot

I just saw a commercial for Jack Van Impe's prophecy show, and I wanted to pass on the news: You have to get saved because if you don't, when the Rapture comes you'll be left behind and then the something (I don't remember what) will come out of the European Union and there'll be a 7 year peace contract, which will get broken, and then from then on... bedlam. After that little announcement, Roxella, his wife said, "Tune in to 'Jack Van Impe Presents.' It will change your life."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

In the Dust of the Rabbi

I have just finished leading a five week Bible Study at church called "In the Dust of the Rabbi." It is a DVD with 5 sessions, with Ray Vander Laan leading a small group of Christians -and us- through the world of the disciples: Galilee, Bethsaida, pagan temples in Turkey, etc. The lessons are on discipleship. The premise is based on an ancient Jewish proverb, “Follow a rabbi, drink his words, and be covered with the dust of his feet.” We should follow our rabbi so closely that the dust he kicks up will cover us. If Jesus is our rabbi, and he is, we should be true disciples, which means that we have to eat, sleep, breathe, live, and die His words.

It was a challenging series. Pagan worshippers would spend their entire lives (literally, like 57 years) building ONE column for a temple for their non-existent god so they could hear maybe one oracle from him in their whole lives, "And you can't even get up ten minutes early to read your Bible," the host yelled out, and we have the complete Words of the true God!

I reccomend this series. It's volume six in an eight DVD series put out by Zondervan and Focus on the Family. There's other ones on Old Testament and early Church themes, all archaeological, on-location, and practical/devotional. We see the pagan society in which the Christians lived and how they had to be countercultural in almost every aspect of the lives, from economics to politics, and how nothing has changed today.

Example: an ancient businessman or craftsman makes his living selling his wares in the large agora (marketplace) in the city. He's wealthy because of it. Suddenly he becomes a Christian. When he goes to sell his products in the market, the agora's president says, "Welcome to our city! We're so glad you've come to our market, you have the finest cloth in the land. Go and place some incense on the agora's altar to Zeus, and then set up your table."

"But I don't believe in Zeus."

"Wh-- You don't believe in Zeus? You reject our gods?! Well, you can't sell here!"

Now the Christian is cut off economically and has to find something else to do, or some other way. Most of us don't have physical altars to pagan gods at our work (unless you work in China Town), but how about, I don't know, working on the Lord's Day? Sometimes disciples of Christ have to obey his Word and cut their earthly losses. He'll take care of us, he always does.

In the fall I started a series on 1 John, ended it March, and now completed this one. Next we're starting a series on....you guessed it, The Da Vinci Code! After much interest, I'll start this series in anticipation of some visitors from outside the church, because it will be advertised in the newspaper. Pray that folks will be reached and taught.

Monday, May 01, 2006

God Uses Means

I firmly believe that throughout the history of the Church God uses heresy to strengthen her. The Church would not have firmly established the doctrine of the deity of Christ had it not been for her enemies contradicting it. The early councils and creeds were the defenses of attacks on our most fundamental doctrines.

Thus, I believe The Da Vinci Code is great. It gets people talking about our most sacred beliefs at the water cooler, on the train, at Starbucks. It's like a revival but lacking the Holy Spirit. We should all jump on this opportunity to proclaim Christ to all those who have him on their minds. We shouldn't be afraid of the Code. The Kingdom is indestructable.

Go see the movie. Read the book. And learn why it is not true, for crying out loud. The Kingdom is indestructible.

You Say You Want A Revelation...?

I posted a short little blurb on Patriots Day regarding the American Revolution and no one really cared for many days...

And now, 15 comments later, the Battle of Lexington and Concord has turned into a theological battle of huge proportions. Read it, it's entertaining.