Monthly Archives: February 2008

Princeton’s Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield on the meaning of John 3.16

From his “God’s Immeasurable Love

Through all the years, one increasing purpose runs, one increasing purpose: the kingdoms of the earth become ever more and more the kingdoms of our God and his Christ. The process may be slow; the progress may appear to our impatient eyes to lag. But it is God who is building! And under his hands the structure rises as steadily as it does slowly, and in due time the capstone shall be set into its place, and to our astonished eyes shall be revealed nothing less than a saved world!

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Tyranny of parenting by rational argumentation

tumbled this post from Jeff, as you can see in my recently improved sidebar, but I have to blog about the Dabney quotes.  They remind me of the insanity that results from trying to argue with one’s child about various fashion/music/culture choices by a form of alleged presuppositionalism.  If it means that much to you, just forbid it.  Don’t torment a growing mind by talking about how that hairstyle is really based on pagan creation-from-ultimat-chaos myths.  If you need to interfere (and there is often wisdom in not doing so) then just use authority.  Don’t torture logic.

Notes on Mary Poppins the profound

George Banks goes insane about how the family is all cheerful.  He wants it to stop.  In the midst of all the directions he is shouting about how the family should be managed, he notices by happenstance that the piano is out of tune and tells his wife to get it fixed.

 “But George, you don’t play.”
“That, Madame, is entirely beside the point!”

For those of you with movie lists to see

I knew about this but forgot about it until just now.  Here is the Mises Institute’s recommendations for movies.  This may violate some ideal of separating art and politics.  I prefer to think of separating art and “preaching” (Like Ayn Rand did [i.e preaching, no separation at all!]; and some of these movies may fail by that criterion).  On the art end of the spectrum, revealing how politics works can be just as artistic as a literary character study.  Take a look

Are we not as stupid as any tradition?

What happens when a Reformed Protestant sees an argument for Roman Catholic prayers to the dead? Or Roman Catholic suffering in Purgatory to make up for sins to merit Heaven? Or Eastern Orthodox arguments for icons? Or the rite of chrismation?

Pretty much, mocking ridicule, not just because the conclusion is wrong but because the argument itself is so stupid.

I’m not going to comment on the propriety of Protestant reactions to this stuff. I’m just going to make a plea for impartiality. When we read such gems as,

Though Christ did not offer or tender the blessings of grace to any, much less to them in general; but as a preacher of the Gospel, published the truths of it to all; and as the Mediator of the new covenant, dispensed blessings of it to those who were (not should be) given him by the Father.

shouldn’t we acknowledge that no “Romanist” superstition ever did worse violence to Scripture? Honestly. This really is on the level of news stories about Mary’s profile appearing in some lady’s scrambled eggs.

It is corrupt stupidity that people would, in the name of a “truth” they pretend to understand, go through the Scriptures with an editing pen of special pleading, and line after line get rid of the Word of God.

Jesus exhorted people time and again to repent and believe in Him, to take up their cross and follow him, through the Apostles to be reconciled to God. It would be insulting to any rationale person’s intelligence to go through all the times in which people in general are offered salvation in accord with the Gospel declaration that Jesus is Lord.

This demon needs to be exorcised from the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition once and for all. It makes us look like morons and makes Arminianism look plausible. The fact that this crap continues to come up in a tradition that prides itself on intellectual rigor makes us the laughingstock of Christendom. At least people who go to laughing revivals don’t boast in their systematic thinking.

PS. Full disclosure: I’m talking about an error that, in one form, I once embraced and spread. And I’m certainly open to the option that it is rarely helpful to use mockery in any of these views. I’m sure that there are occasions when it is best to give every view “its day in court.” What I don’t like to see is a protected sub-culture that is allowed to continue because no one calls a spade a spade. That is the point of this entry, and my plan is for it to be unique in its tone–though I’m not apologizing for it.

Bill Buckley’s death reminds me

that a vacuum is being left by the passing of these men from “the Right,” and no leader is coming close to fulfilling it. There is a market. Fox News and the Ron Paul campaign (however poorly it did, it still beat Giuliani to a pulp) prove that.

But there is no one who can unify them. Two or three conflicts in conviction conspire toward fragmentation, depending on how one interprets them:

  • International interventionism v. bringing the troops home
  • “Patriotism” v. liberty
  • “conservatism” v. “libertarianism”

In some cases, these could all be seen as the same thing, but I think they actually result in many different convictions.

In the eighties, in the aftermath of the now returning Carter years, there was enough common cause to pull enough of these different people together. But not anymore. So no one can lead a unified group within them.

More ethical? According to what OS?

armed-robot.jpgSo if this guy doesn’t act according to instructions (assuming that no one is issuing secret orders with the plan to blame it on computer malfunction), who is going to hit the reboot button?

‘Robot arms race’ underway, expert warns

  • 12:10 27 February 2008
  • news service
  • Tom Simonite

Governments around the world are rushing to develop military robots capable of killing autonomously without considering the legal and moral implications, warns a leading roboticist. But another robotics expert argues that robotic soldiers could perhaps be made more ethical than human ones.

Noel Sharkey of Sheffield University, UK, says he became “really scared” after researching plans outlined by the US and other nations to roboticise their military forces. He will outline his concerns to at a one day conference held in London, UK, on Wednesday.

Over 4000 semi-autonomous robots are already deployed by the US in Iraq, says Sharkey, and other countries – including several European nations, Canada, South Korea, South Africa, Singapore and Israel – are developing similar technologies.