Monthly Archives: April 2009

Let the little children rejoice in hope of the glory of God

Recently a friend told me that his child wasn’t able to take communion yet, because he couldn’t properly prepare himself. I could spend time dismantling the reasons alleged to prove that a Christian child has any need to prepare himself in the manner assumed to be out of his reach. First Corinthians 11 contains no such demand. Exodus 12 contains no such demand (as modern Reformed anti-paedocommunionist often admit).  The rules by which these demands are place on young children are utterly perverse.  No one forbids a small child pray, or put a quarter in the offering plate, despite the great risk involved in wrongful giving.  Warnings against high-handed sin and the sins possible to those who have attained high position and authority are somehow never placed on them, but on the youngest and most dependent members in Christ’s kingdom.

But rather than deconstructing the tissue of fallacies that have been erected to rationalize the unbiblical barriers that have been established, I want to just remind readers of what the Gospel is supposed to mean for individuals:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Our young children have a lot ahead of them.  The “sufferings” Paul mentions here includes every adversity they will ever experience in life.  Often they go through things in later life we never imagined or wished for.  But they have been taught to trust Jesus from infancy.  They are supposed to know that God is with them through all the processes and trials of their maturity.  They know they have the hope of the glory of God precisely because they now (we tell them as parents commanded so to raise them) have peace with God.

It is entirely perverse to turn the road they must travel into an attempt to attain peace with God.  Fellowship with God in Christ, communion with Jesus, does not require preparation but is itself the only necessary and completely sufficient preparation for everything else that can befall us in this life.  Eating and drinking with Jesus is never something to be earned or attained or deserved by his people.  It is a gift of peace and reconciliation that can only be given by grace.

C. S. Lewis v. Patrick Henry on why we are too good or too bad for tryranny

I don’t have time to analyse the problem, but look at the quotes and see if you recognize how they are opposed to one another:

First, Lewis:

I believe in political equality. But there are two opposite reasons for being a democrat. You may think all men so good that they deserve a share in the government of the commonwealth, and so wise that the commonwealth needs their advice. That is, in my opinion, the false, romantic doctrine of democracy. On the other hand, you may believe fallen men to be so wicked that not one of them can be trusted with any irresponsible power over his fellows.

That I believe to be the true ground of democracy. I do not believe that God created an egalitarian world. I believe the authority of parent over child, husband over wife, learned over simple to have been as much a part of the original plan as the authority of man over beast. I believe that if we had not fallen, Filmer would be right, and partiarchal monarchy would be the sole lawful government. But since we have learned sin, we have found, as Lord Acton says, that “all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The only remedy has been to take away the powers and substitute a legal fiction of equality. The authority of father and husband has been rightly abolished on the legal plane, not because this authority is in itself bad (on the contrary, it is, I hold, divine in origin), but because fathers and husbands are bad. Theocracy has been rightly abolished not because it is bad that learned priests should govern ignorant laymen, but because priests are wicked men like the rest of us. Even the authority of man over beast has had to be interfered with because it is constantly abused. (C.S. Lewis, “Membership,” from The Weight of Glory, pp. 168-7)

And now a much shorter statement from Patrick Henry:

Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.

See the problem?

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Snow Crash Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is one of my favorite novels and I need to re-read it. The plot was both hokey and epic. It needed to only be minimally interesting however (though it was much more than that) because it was a an anarcho-capitalist world. I loved it. I love the “hero” (Hiro Protagonist) and I loved the skater/message service girl (whose name escapes me) and I loved the horribly arrogant and impotant corporation that the Federal Government had become. I loved the “burbclaves” (suburban, franchised, “nations” [sort of:]). I loved that the whole thing sounded like a comic book (it was originally intended to be one).

The only thing about the set-up that bothered me was that the technology of the “metaverse” (3d, 1st-person, internet) seemed incomplete. Stephenson should have had people go ahead and plug in directly into the computer, rather than merely using visors and keyboards.

This closed out the cyberpunk era if I remember right. It wasn’t nearly as literary as William Gibson’s Neuromancer, which started it all. But it was much more fun.

View all my reviews.

A really vivid civics lesson

One thing about the so-called “Federal Vision Controversy” in the PCA is that it really gives you insight into the nature of parliamentary democracy, the will to centralism, and the inescapability of oligarchy in every and any supposed type of government.  I recently read Who Killed the Constitution?: The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush and realized I already understood all the dynamics that were at play.  The Federal Vision, and the presbyteries that show they are godly by vindicating the innocent, are the medical marijuana and the socialist Eugene Debs and the steel industry of the denomination caught in the political nightmare–wishing words on paper could protect them from the powers.

Thankful there is no Gitmo.

Islam, the West, and the role of the US in the next Christendom

YouTube – Muslim Demographics.

Obviously, statistics can be misused and “facts” can be alleged that are exaggerated.  The video inserted above is hardly “sober.”

But then, academic pretensions can be no less manipulative and are no less likely to promote deception.  I think the demographic story here is more true than not, at the very least.

Which leads me to some thoughts:

  • Western Europe is history.  Not so sure about Eastern Europe (and I thought the statement about Russia was rather weaker than the rest; so I want to look into it).
  • This means we will get to see what Islamic culture does to an economy.  My thinking is that, as oil production declines in the MidEast (if that happens) and we see more Islamic economies without oil revenues, we are going to see economies that are even less robust than they are now. It will be a continent-wide object lesson.
  • Opposition to Mexican, Central-, and South-American immigration is a death wish for Evangelical Christians.  Having poverty South of the border may mean lots of discomfort, but the alternatives are far worse.  We need to actively dismantle immigration barriers.  Now.
  • This video doesn’t say anything about the spread of Christianity in South America, Africa, and China.  Inasmuch as viewers are led to believe that Christianity is declining, it is misleading.  Christianity is not declining.  A new Christendom is being born.
  • The US, which does have a viable demographic growth with immigration, has a chance of actually continuing as a force in this new world (by grace alone; certainly it doesn’t deserve such a privilege!)–especially in the South and in the West.  If I was thinking about where to be strategically located right now in the US, I would think that Los Angeles is the best place to be.  California as a political entity will go bankrupt and be replaced, but L. A. will probably continue and be an influence for good and bad.

Preach the Gospel, not the enlightenment

Here’s a quickie idea for preaching and for reading the Bible from the pulpit.

Never, ever, use words such as “salvation” or “saved” or “redeemed” etc. Never.

Use “deliverance” or “rescue.”  Say “liberator” rather than redeemer, just as most translations do for Moses in Acts 7.35 (but hats off to the ESV for being consistent).

Also, in Samuel and Kings, there is no such thing as a “Temple.”  There is a palace, or rather two–one for YHWH and one for Solomon side by side using exactly the same word.  If you want to be extra literal, use “great house,” but I think palace will work fine.

The point here is that the Bible was written long before “religion” got reduced to a special (and perhaps marginal) area in life and society.  All our “religious” vocabulary teaches a lesson that does not come from Scripture.  At one time, “salvation” was a term that could apply as much and as easily to the healing of a disease, or the discharge of debts, or the killing of a tyrant, as it could to escaping eternal condemnation in the afterlife.  But with the modern turn certain words have been associated with either one side or the other of an alleged divide.

Do your part to break down the dividing wall.

Peter Leithart

His website can be found here, with blogs, links to buy books he has written, links to articles in magazines, etc.

Peter continues to be an amazing Christian personally and an amazing scholar intellectually in a seamless fashion that preaches the wholistic gospel louder than his eloquent words.  I highly recommend this minister of the Gospel and teaching of the Church.

If I were Obama or Pelosi…

The biggest thing I would fear would be a resurgence of small-government conservatism. Accusing them of pure hypocrisy and ignoring the fact that they might have just learned something can only work so long.

If I were Obama or Pelosi I would work on having a stockpile of ways to attack Bush and something about his assertion of powers in the “war on terror.” The more the Tea Party energy can be diverted to defending the biggest bloat in debt and raw power and nation-building before Obama, the better off the Dems will be in 1210 and 2012.