Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Seven Days to my Birthday

It is my birthday next week on 7th March. I will be 25.

Twenty-five seems really old to me. I will have been alive for a quater of a century. I am not looking forward to being so old.

His Not-Birthday

Yesterday I bought a birthday present for my sister's boyfriend.

However, he does not have a birthday this year. He was born on the 29th February and so only has a birthday every four years. As he is 30 round about today, he has had seven birthdays so far.

I got him some cider. I dislike cider myself, but I know my sister drinks it and he probably likes it as well. I am hoping to visit them tomorrow and share a takeaway meal with them.

I just wish he would hurry up and become my brother-in-law. What is stopping him?

Monday, February 27, 2006

I do Hate it when Preachers do this

Most of the people who preach at my church have this dreadful habit. They make these foolish comments about sport particularly about Soccer.

They say things like:

'Some of you will be disappointed to learn that I support such and such a team.'

'I hear your pastor is silly enougth to support such and such a team.'

'Most of you will be feeling really depressed after the tragic results yesterday.'

'I just cannot wait for the rugby match next week.'

When preachers make comments like this, the message they send is:

'I am going to talk to you about God and the Bible. I would really like to talk about sports and I know you would too, but your going to have to sit through this.'

This glorying in sports is pandering to the spirit of worldliness. The fact is that sports is a great source of idolatry in this country. People spend so much time following sports that could be spent with their families or studying the Word of God.
There are so many people who are fanatical about their sports heroes.

When preachers indulge in glorying in sports from the pulpit, they are giving a divine endorsement to the sports idolatry that pervades our nation.

Can one take a preacher seriously when he talks about how much he idolizes his favorite Soccer team?

I say keep sports out of the pulpit.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Musings of an English Muffin: Seeing things the wrong way up.

Musings of an English Muffin: Seeing things the wrong way up.

Libbie responds to 'Evangelical' Feminism.

Shall Not Pass

This afternoon, my mother stepped into my bedroom with her shoes on. I looked down at her feet and uttered a squeaking noise. I think this made it clear that I did not want her to advance any further into my bedroom.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

J.N. Darby- 'The Children of God have Nothing to do but to Meet Together in the Name of the Lord'

"With what design then am I writing? Is it that Christians should do nothing? No! I have written from a desire that there should be less presumption and more diffidence in what we undertake to do: and that we should feel more deeply the ruined condition to which we have reduced the Church.

If you say to me, 'I have separated myself from the evil that my conscience disapproves, that which is at variance with the Word'- it is well. If you urge that God's word requires the saints to be one and united; that it tells us that, there where two or three are gathered together, Jesus is in the midst of them, and that therefore you 'assemble yourselves' together, Isay again it is well. But if you go on to tell me that you have organised a church, or combined together with others to do so; that you have chosen a president or a pastor, and that having done this, you are now a church, or the Church of God of the place you inhabit- I put this question- My dear friends, who has commissioned you to do all this? Even according to your principle of immitation (although to immitate power is an absurdity: and the kingdom of God is 'in power'), where do you find all this is in the word? I see no trace of churches having elected presidents or pastors. You say that for the sake of order it must be so. My answer is, I cannot get off the ground of the word- 'He that gathereth not with me scattereth.' To say that it is necessary that it should be so, is to reason after the manner of men. Your order, being constituted by the will of man, will soon be seen to be disorder in the sight of God. If there are but two or three met together in the name of Jesus, He will be there. If God raises up pastors from amongst you, or sends them among you, it is well; it is a blessung. Bu ever since the day when the Holy Spirit formed the church, we have no record in the word that the church has chosen them.

What then, it will be asked, must we do? That which faith ever does- acknowledge our weakness and take the place of dependance upon God. God is sufficent in all ages for His church. It is of the last importance that our faith should hold fast the truth, that whatever the ruin of the church on earth, there is ever in Christ all the grace, and faithfulness, and power needed for the circumstances in which the Church is. He never fails. If you are but 'two or three' who have faith for it, meet together: you will find that Christ is with you. Call upon Him. He can raise up whatever is needed for the blessing of the saints; and doubt not He will do so. The blessing will not be ensured to us through a pretension on our part to be something when we are nothing. In how many places has not blessing to the saints not been hindered by this choosing of presidents or pastors? In how many places might not the saints have assembled together with joy in the strength of that promise made by Christ to the 'two or three' if they had not been scared by the pretended necessity for organisation, and by charges of disorder (just as if man were wiser than God), and if their fear of disorder had not persuaded them to continue a state of things which they confess to be wrong? Nor does the continuation of these organised bodies by man hinder the dommination of a single individual, or a struggle between several. It tends rather to produce it.

That which the church specially needs is the deep feeling of her ruin and necessity, a feeling which turns for refuge to God- with confession, and keeps clear from all known evil- acknowledges the authority of Christ, as He who rules as Son over His own house, and the Spirit of God as the sole power in the church; and by so doing, acknowledges every one whom He sends, according to the gift such a one has received, and that with thanksgiving to Him, who by such gift constitutes such brother a servant of all under the authority of the great Head, the great Shepherd of the sheep. To acknowledge the world to be the church, or to pretend to again set up the church, are two things equally condemned and unauthorised by the word.

If you say, what then is to be done? I rejoin- Why are you ever thinking of doing something? To confess the sin which has brought us where we are, to humble ourselves low before the Lord, and separating from that which we know to be evil, to lean upon Him who is able to do all that is necessary for our blessing, without assuming to do more, ourselves, than the word authorises us to do- such is the position, humble it is true, but proportionately blessed by God.

A point of the uttermost importance, which they who wish to organise churches seem to have altogether lost sight of, is that there is such a thing as POWER, and that the Holy Spirit alone has the power to gather and build up the church. They seem to think that, as soon as they have certain passages of scripture, they have nothing to do but to act them out; but under the garb of faithfulness, there is in this a fatal error- it consists in leaving aside the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. We can only act out the word of God by the power of God. But the constituting the church was a direct effect of the power of the Holy Ghost. To leave aside that power, and still hold to the pretension of immitating the primitive church in what flowed from that power, is strangely to delude ourselves. Only I remark must that, where a direct act of obediance is concerned, the Christian has not to wait for power: the constant grace of Christ is his power to obey the word. In what precedes, I speak of the power to do a divine work in the Church.

I know that those who esteem these little organised associations to be the churches of God, see nothing but mere meetings of men in every other gathering of God's children. There is a very simple answer on this matter. Such brethren have no promise authorising them to set up again the churches of God when they have fallen, whilst there is a positive promise that, where two or three are gathered in the name of Jesus, He is in their midst. Thus there is no promise in favour of the system by which men organise churches, while there is a promise for that 'assembling together' which so many of the children of God despise.

And what do we see to be the consequence of the pretensions of these bodies? Those who contrast these pretensions with the reality, are disgusted and repelled: while multitudes of them are formed apart from each other, on the various views and opinions of those who formed them; and thus the desired object is hindered, namely the union of God's children. Here and there the pastor's gifts may produce much effect; or it may happen that all who are Christians may be living in unity, and there will be much joy; but the same thing would have resulted though there should have been no pretension whatever to be the church of God."

JN Darby, 'On the Formation of Churches' Collected Writings vol.1 p.149-152

Why I Dislike History

I dislike history, because I hate the thought of a world without vacumm cleaners and washing machines. It must have been pretty naff without the internet, as well.

Even worse, before the early 19th century, they did not even have Dispensational theology!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Links in Comments

Readers, how do you feel about people putting links in their comments when they visit your blogs? Does it irritate you or do you appreciate it? Do you often visit the links that people post in their comments?

Posting links in comments concerns me. For all I know somebody could come in here and post a link to an obscene site. I suspect that might cause it to be blocked by some internet filters. It is also an irritation if people post lots of links that I do not want to visit.

On the other hand, sometimes people post some really useful links. Antonio in particular often posts some really helpful links in his comments. Hence, I am not going to ban links in comments.

I do not want to bring in lots of rules (except the shoes-off rule which is still in force on this blog- I hope you all brought your slippers with you), however, I will state my policy on comment links. If there is a link to your blog on this blog or my other two blogs (Shawn, Jim, Kitty Cheng, Bluecollar, J. Wendall and Forgiven have links on my other blogs), then you are welcome to post links in your comments. I know you guys and trust you to post links to helpful material.

If you do not have a link to your blog here or on my other blogs, would you mind not posting links in your comments? Thankyou very much.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Naughty People

For the second time this week, we had eggs thrown at the windows of our house. Last week, the same people were trying to dazzle me by pointing a powerful torch at my window.

They seem a cowardly lot. They have not dared to come near the house.

I do hope they do not cause any damage while my parents are away in China.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Kneeling to Pray

I think it is very unfortunate that the practise of kneeling to pray has declined so much. Many Christians have never once prayed on bended knees.

We should certainly avoid legalism on posture. There is no one correct posture for prayer. However, I have certainly found great spiritual benefit in kneeling in my private prayers. It greatly aids concentration and increases discipline. I cannot remember my prayer life being very fruitful before I adopted the practise of kneeling in private prayer.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

My Tie

There is an elderly gentleman who usually sits behind me at church. Today he said to me:

"I really like your tie. Can you leave it to me in your will?"

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Street Preaching Today

I went out street preaching today. There were several of us.

I preached twice, my text was John 3:36. I said that this was perhaps the simplest verse in the Bible. If you believe on the Son you have everlasting life.

My friend Andrew is a full-time street preacher. He said he felt rather disheartened at preaching day after day to so many stony faces. Nevertheless, despite his sadness at the lack of response, he is resolved to continue, as are the rest of us.

The only person I spoke to was a teenage girl who said I was talking rubbish, but who could not give me a single reason why. She walked away, full of anger.

One of our team is a school cleaner. He saw some pupils from his school and gave them tracts. He is always very good at communicating to young people.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Unashamed of Grace

Unashamed of Grace

A new team blog on which I am participating, with Rose, Antonio, Nate and HK Flynn. Dedicated to Free Grace and Dispensational Non-Calvinism.

I Cooked Dinner Tonight

Tonight I cooked fried steak, served with french fries and fine green beans.

The steaks were quite crisply cooked. I think my mother would have preferred her steak a little more rare, but I like mine well-cooked. I added a little soy sauce, but this was not really noticeable.

The oven french fries did not cook too well. They must have needed a little longer in the oven.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Clergyman who Needed to Read his Bible a Little more Often

When I was doing my theology degree, the College chaplain, an Anglican minister, gave a talk to the theology class on the subject of Animal Welfare. He was a rather comical young chap, with a tendency to support fashionable causes. Not very sound in his theology at all.

The chaplain said during his lecture:
"People often ascribe negative human characteristics to animals, like identifying greed with pigs. You never see Jesus slandering animals this way."

The only other Evangelical in the group, my best friend Jason interrupted the chaplain and said:

"But did Jesus not call Herod 'that Fox' and did he not call the Pharisees a 'brood of vipers'?"

The chaplain looked dreadfully embarassed at this. He said "I shall have to study those texts again." Yes, I hope he did.

My Boss Brushing her Hair

My boss has long hair. Under the rules of the Exclusive Brethren she has no choice about this. While I agree with the principle, it does not seem right to make it a matter of church discipline, as they do.

She is in her forties. To me the sight of her brushing her long hair seems slightly strange. Most of the women of her age that I know have short hair. My mother (52) certainly does.

I tend to feel a little embarassed when my boss brushes out her hair in my presence. I feel a little as though I am intruding on her privacy. I always feel compelled to look away.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Musings of an English Muffin: Under cover

Musings of an English Muffin: Under cover

Libbie writes about why she practises Christian headcovering.

Some really nice photographs of headcoverings in various styles.

Some Serious Theology- Are you a Tramplian or an Offalist?

I had planned to post this on my other blog, Shoes Off at the Door, Please. However, I decided to post it here as well.

You may be sick of the Calvinist/ Arminian debate, so let me introduce you to some new theological terms; Tramplian and Offalist.

Tramplians like to trample the carpets or flooring of their homes with their shoes on. They find it rather objectionable to be asked to remove their shoes when visiting somebody else's home.

The central principle in Tramplian theology is the freedom of the will. They believe that they should be the ones to decide whether they take their shoes off at a dinner party. Their attitude is "I decided what outfit to wear. I decided what shoes to wear. I should be able to keep them on if I like". They do not believe that a hostess should impose shoelessness on them.

Tramplians have a strong belief in the goodness of hosts. They consider that a hostess should be above all concerned for her guests wishes and convenience above keeping her home clean. They believe that if a hostess likes them enougth to invite them into her home, she will accept them with their shoes on.

Tramplians believe in the power of their own ability to keep their shoes clean. They consider themselves to be grown-up and to be careful about what they tread on. They do acknowledge that their shoes can be tainted by the corruption of dirty streets, however they hold that this can easily be dealt with by wiping their feet on their hostess' doormat. Their shoes can be restored to cleanliness by the exercise of their will.

Offalists in contrast, always remove their shoes at the door. Offalists believe in the Total Depravity of the soles of their shoes. The corruption of city streets has completely ruined the condition of their shoes, they argue, and the only hope is a change of nature for their feet, namely into slippers or clean socks. The Offalist pays heed to warnings about the health risks of pesticide, lead paint and animal excrement.

The Offalist upholds the sovereignty of the host. The hostess has been very generous in inviting her guests, however, she is sovereign over her own home and has the authority to set the rules. She will not allow anything corrupt to defile her home. Those who would enter her home must not come in their own shoes, but must meet her condition of a change into slippers or stocking feet.

The Offalist holds that the root problem of the Tramplian's theology is human pride. The Tramplian is proud of her ability to make decisions about her outfit. She is proud of her Manolos, her Prada heels or her Jimmy Choo boots. She is too proud to combine her outfit with stocking feet. She resents the idea that her hostess would not accept her in her own shoes.

The Offalist argues that if the Tramplian would only forsake her pride, she would actually find that she was far more comfortable in slippers, socks or bare feet. Her determination to remain in her stilettos will in the end hurt her feet and drag her to destruction. She may well remain outside the dinner party in the outer darkness.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Essential Reading for Fundamentalist Christians

In case any of you were under the impression that I have any intellectual respectability; I thought I would dispel that notion. You must read these books; or you will have absolutely no Fundie credibility.

R.A. Torrey, Warren Wiersbe and Charles Feinberg (ed.) 'The Fundamentals'

The obvious place to start, as this is where the word 'fundamentalist' comes from. This is a collection of magazines that were published defending orthodox doctrine and the reliability of the Bible. Sadly, some of the authors were Theistic Evolutionists (they had not invented Answers in Genesis back then).

David Otis Fuller (ed.) 'Which Bible?'

A collection of articles by various authors. Intended to support the King James Bible, but some of the authors actually favoured the critical text.

Gail Riplinger 'New Age Bible Versions'

Please do not run away. I know some of her arguments are a bit naff, but it is worth reading.

Edward F Hills 'The King James Version Defended'

An excellent defence of the KJV. A bit Calvinist, though. I actually picked up my love for the KJV through a Reformed Baptist Church.

Henry C Thiessen Lectures in Systematic Theology (Revised by V. Doerkerson)

A very good Dispensational Baptist systematic theology. However, it is not really Thiessen's work. V. Doerkerson considerably altered the work when he revised it. He made it argue for moderate Calvinism, while Thiessen rejected Unconditional Election, like Rose, Antonio and I (there is a footnote to explain Thiessen's views, but I still think it was a bit cheeky). He also softened Thiessen's support for the Gap theory.

Samuel Fisk 'Election and Predestination'

This book is essentially an extended collection of quotes arguing for Dispensational Non-Calvinism.

H.A. Ironside 'Romans'

A superb commentary on Romans. Ironside could never seem to make up his mind whether he was Open Brethren, Exclusive Brethren or just a plain old Fundie.

H.A. Ironside 'Ephesians'

A superb commentary on Ephesians.

C.H. Mackintosh 'Notes on the Pentateuch'

An Exclusive Brethren commentary that enjoys wide popularity among Open Brethren and Fundamental Baptists. Heavy on typology.

Henry M Morris 'The Genesis Record'

A Creationist commentary on Genesis. Dispensational in theology. Controversially, I agree with his identification of Melchizedek as the pre-incarnate Christ. However, he gets zero marks for his refusal to see Joseph as a type of Christ.

Henry M Morris 'Scientific Creationism'

A slightly outdated Creationist textbook. Definitely worth reading, however.

John F Ashton 'In Six Days'

50 scientists defend Creationism.

Charles C Ryrie 'Dispensationalism'

Updated edition of 'Dispensationalism Today'. Refutes Progessive Dispensationalism in brief.

Dwight F Pentecost 'Thy Kingdom Come'

A Dispensational study of the Kingdom of God.

Norman Geisler 'A Popular Survey of the Old Testament'

A good overview of the Old Testament, but he gets zero marks for his Old Earth views.

Alexander Hislop 'The Two Babylons'

If you have never read this, how can you call yourself a Fundie? It argues that nearly everything in Roman Catholicism is derived from Paganism. Not completely reliable. Ignore his Historicist interpretation of Revelation.

Dave Hunt 'A Woman Rides the Beast'

The ultimate textbook in Anti-Romanism. A must for anyone seeking to combat Popery. If you are a Calvinist you are not going to admit to having read this. You are not fooling anyone.

G.J.O. Moshay 'Who is this Allah?'

A good book to help you understand Islam.

Texe Marrs 'Dark Secrets of the New Age'

A bit sensational. Interesting though. He has since moved in an odd direction, with a rather suspect hostility to Jews. Why not visit his website?

O.J. Graham 'The Six-Pointed Star'

This book proves that the 'Star of David' (star of Moloch) is the Mark of the Beast.

Chuck Missler and Mark Eastman 'Alien Encounters'

Explores the connection between UFOs and the Nephilim and their place in Bible Prophecy.

Hopefully, this post is going to spearhead the Dispensational Fundamentalist revival.

Sorry, Antonio, I could not mention Zane Hodges because I have not read any of his books. All the second-hand copies are so expensive.

Did I mention the Scofield Reference Bible?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

J.N. Darby on Church Membership

J.N. Darby wrote:

"There is another thing as to which our brother admits a principle, which tells all that I could wish on the subject. 'If I am a member of the whole body,' he says (p41), 'I am a member of the parts of that body.' I insist on this. A Christian does become a member of a local church (if, however, one can admit this expression of 'member of a church', for it is now owned to be unscriptural); he is a member of the parts of the body, if he is a member of the body.

Nothing more simple; we cannot become what we are already; and according to Mr. Rochat, if I am a member of the whole body, I am a member of the parts of this body, which meet in divers places: it is not aquestion of becoming such- I am such already. This is the priciple I have always maintained, and on which I have always acted. By the very fact that I am a Christian, I have all the claims of a member of the body, wherever I may be found. It is not aright I acquire by joining a particular body; it is a right which I posess as any member of the body of Christ. Let brethren weigh well this priciple, which Mr. Rochat asserts, and on which I insist. Practically the whole qustion between us is thereby decided.

Mr. Rochat also admits that the expression of 'a member of a church' is not scriptural. We know how much the habits of brethren have been formed from that expression, and how much it has guided their conduct; so that in many localities, if a person did not declare himself member of a church, he was not admitted among brethren to partake of the Lord's supper. It was not enough to be a member of Christ, a faithful Christian, owned of all."

Remarks on the State of the Church Collected Writings vol.1, p.241

"The Holy Ghost was upon earth to establish the closest and most formal union between the members of the body; they were members one of another. This unity was recognised among them. All knew that a Christian was not of the world, because he was of the Church. If one member suffer, all the members suffer with it. This unity was truly and distinctly manifested in each locality. There was the church of each place, as the very addresses of several epistles shew. But this local unity proved the universal unity. Any one member of it was theby a member of the universal unity. Teachers, evangelists, apostles, Timothy, Titus, Paul did not belong to one church more than another. The gifts were members of the body. The idea of a church is not found in the Bible. The thought there is very different; it is that of members of thr body of Christ. But these 'joints and bands', which might exercise their activity in local churches, proved the unity of the whole body, and made it visible and perfectly perceptible to the world."

What is the Church? Collected Writings vol.3, p.390

"Nevertheless, if we speak of those at Corinth, he says 'Ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.' If a Christian member of Christ's body went from Ephesus to Corinth, he would have been equally and necessarilly also member of Christ's body in this latter assembly. Christians are not members of a church, but of Christ. The eye, the ear, the foot, or any other member which was at Corinth, was equally such at Ephesus. In the word we do not find the idea of members of a church, but of Christ."

What is the Church as it was at the Beginning? And What is its Present State? Collected Writings vol.14, p.83

"Member of a church is a thing unknown to scripture. The words, the thing, the idea are unknown there. Christians are members of Christ, and if you please, one of another, and of nothing else. And membership of anything else is only schism, and denying the true meaning of the word.

A flock other than God's flock is equally unknown. God's flock alone is known in scripture, of which Christ is the chief shepherd. There is one flock, and only one, meeting it may be in different localities, and elders belonging to these localities; but all the faithful there at any time were of it, because they were of God's flock. A pastor and his flock, in the modern sense, is wholly unknown to scripture, and an utter denial of its contents, if it be not of the words 'I am of Paul, and I of Apollos,' etc. These statements I leave for every honestminded saint to see whether they are according to scripture or not."

Review of a Sermon by the Rev GM Innes Collected Writings vol.14, p.255

Saturday, February 11, 2006

H.A. Ironside on Romans 12:10

H.A. Ironside wrote:

"How much we need the simple exhortation of verse 10:'Be ye kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.'

Elsewhere Paul wrote: 'Be ye kind one to another.' How rare a virtue true kindness is! How often pretended zeal for truth, or the church position, dries up the milk of human kindness! And yet this is one of the truest Christian virtues. Dr. Griffith Thomas used to tell of an old Scottish pastor who frequently said to his congregation: 'Remember, if you are not very kind, you are not very spiritual.' And yet how often people imagine that there is something even incongruos between spirituality and kindness! How differently would Christians speak of one another and act toward one another if these admonitions were kept in view."

Despite the excessive use of exclamation marks, I cannot stop thinking about the truth of this extract.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Hungry/Six: the unique setting of James

Hungry/Six: the unique setting of James

Understanding what James really meant about faith and works.

Hey, somebody should write a book entitled 'What James Really Said about Faith'. Sounds familiar...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Congregation I Attend

The congregation I attend is part of a denomination called the Federation of Independent Evangelical Churches. It is a conservative Evangelical denomination.

This particular congegation could be described broadly as Baptist. It is governed by a group of elders, with deacons under them. There is a pastor, an associate pastor and a pastoral assistant who leads the youth group. It is higly structured.

Doctrinally it is Conservative Evangelical, but not dogmatic on controversial issues. I am told that the pastor is a Five-Point Calvinist and a Cessationist, but he keeps quiet about it. He has mentioned the doctrine of election in sermons from an obviously Calvinistic perspective.

I suspect the pastor may be Premillennial, but he has made it clear that he would nver preach on the details of eschatology. He talks about the Lord's coming as though it might happen at any moment, a view I do not share.

The church is very large and has gained many converts. There are baptisms regularly. A few years ago, it got so big that a church plant took place on the other side of the city. They are hoping ot plant another congregation in the city.

The worship style is a mixture of hymns and choruses that are mostly quite old. They use several instruments. They employ the unscriptural office of 'Worship Leader'.

The preaching is very good. The pastor preaches most Sundays and his teachign is pretty sound. There is perhaps a slight lack of practical teaching on holiness. A good deal of the preaching that is meant for believers sometimes just sems like Gospel preaching.

All of those who preach read from the NIV. I do not know if this is a formal requirement. If it is, they can be sure I will never preach there.

None of the women wear a headcovering. Women do not preach there. I am not aware of any controversy over this subject. I would find it quite distressing if they started to encourage women to preach.

I am not sure how spiritually mature much of the congregation are. I suspect there may be a good deal of lukewarmness there.

I do not really agree with the structures of the church and I have not sought to become a member. Nevertheless, it is a good deal sounder than the Pentecostal church I was attending over a year ago.

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: This Week's NATIONAL ETIQUETTE AWARD

My award to countries in which removing shoes in homes is customary.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Free Grace Theology: The Will of God is Necessity (Helpless, Hopeless, yet Unpitiable)

Free Grace Theology: The Will of God is Necessity (Helpless, Hopeless, yet Unpitiable)

'Wearing Shoes in Your Home is a Health Hazard' by Paul Rebhan

Paul Rebhan wrote:

When you walk through almost any part of a city, and even in the suburbs, your shoes pick up a multitude of unwanted hangers-on. If you wear those shoes in your home, you run the risk of endangering your family's health by spreading viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, other pathogens, allergens and toxic substances.

Nocent items such as these may be commonly found on sidewalks and streets:

- Remnants of feces from dogs, cats, rodents, birds, other wildlife and sometimes, even humans.
- Urine from the same sources.
- Excretions such as saliva, mucus, sweat and sometimes, blood or vomit.
- Remains from insects and rodents
- Remnants of garbage including food waste and toxic cleaning products.
- Residue from insecticides, oils, gasoline and grease.

Even indoor spaces such as the floors of restrooms are frequently contaminated with urine and hospitals or doctors' offices are fertile hotspots for a variety of germs that may end up on your shoes. Soil around homes and parks may be contaminated with lead, pesticides, lawn chemicals and toxic wood preservatives.

Residue from humans and animals may contain common viruses and pathogens such as hepatitis, herpes, E. coli, tetanus, rabies, strep, hantavirus, or cold and flu causing germs. Garbage residue may carry traces of toxic products such as formaldehyde, industrial chemicals, dyes and lead. According to Dr. Leo Galland, author of "Power Healing", lead tracked into a home and accumulated in carpet dust often exceeds levels requiring clean-up at Superfund toxic sites.

These items may be on the ground in very small deposits that are unnoticeable to the naked eye. Shoe soles are generally made of leather, rubber or other porous materials that allow the absorption of microscopic substances. Wiping shoes on a doormat or rug may remove some of the larger materials, but will not eliminate microscopic germs.

Once inside your home, contaminated shoes become a conduit for disease, spreading germs to carpets and even hard-surfaced floors. If you walk on those floors later without shoes, the germs can spread to your feet and be carried to other places such as your bed. If children are allowed to play on the floor, germs can easily spread to their hands, clothing and mouths. Even pets are at risk of picking up and spreading these germs.

In his book "The Secret Life of Germs", Philip M. Tierno, Jr., Ph.D. suggests a simple way to avoid this hazard: "One should adopt the hygienic Japanese practice of having separate footwear for outdoors and indoors, and leaving the outdoor shoes at the threshold".

References: Philip M. Tierno. Jr, Ph.D.: The Secret Life of Germs, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control: An Ounce of Prevention, Dr. Leo Galland: Power Healing, Spectrum Magazine: Our Daily Dose of Poison, Logan County, CO.: The Online Courthouse, Gary Null, Ph.D.: Natural Living with Gary Null


Correction, hook-handed Muslim cleric, Abu Hamza may face extradiction to the USA over his involvement with terrorism. He is appealing his conviction for incitement to murder and incitement to racial hatred, so it might take some years. He might yet be wearing the orange jumpsuit and flip-flops.

Daniel's thoughts

Daniel's thoughts

An intelligent Christian blog.

Breach of the Peace

Two men were arrested while demonstrating outside the Danish embassy. They were peacefully giving out leaflets in favour of freedom of expression. They were arrested on suspicion of inciting a breach of the peace.

At the same time as this, several Muslims were waving placards encouraging terrorism and violence. None of them were arrested.

Evil Thought

I had an evil thought today. It took me about twenty minutes to realise how evil it was.

Hooked Up

Abu Hamza, the hook-handed Muslim cleric has been found guilty today of stirring up racial hatred. He had encouraged terrorist and murderous acts against the Jews.

Of course, it is difficult to reconcile laws against incitement to do stuff with freedom of expression. Nevertheless, I am glad he will be locked up for a while longer.

Too bad they did not manage to extradite him to the USA.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Hungry/Six: broken camera

Hungry/Six: broken camera

A good post on Calvinism.

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: Removing Shoes in Somebody Else's House

Shoes Off at the Door, Please: Removing Shoes in Somebody Else's House

New post on my other blog.

Horrible Meeting

I had a meeting with some professors today. It was to discuss the registration of my research and to re-asses my research proposal.

My PhD supervisor had advised me that they would probably just suggest some minor changes to the proposal. As it happened they expressed serious concerns about the scope of my research and were very unsatisfied with my proposal. This is unfortunate because I have already written two chapters. I may need to make big changes to what I have already done.

They asked me some very hard questions and put me a bit on the spot. It was a very disheartening occasion. I felt very unsettled.

Before I began my research, someone had warned me that academics can be very ruthless. How true!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Colossians 1:22

We had a visiting preacher at church today. He preached on Colossians 1. Given the denominational circle I am attending, he was probably Calvinistic in theology.

I was very unhappy with his treatment of verse 22:

"In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight."

Now, this preacher was treating this position of being holy, unblameable and unreproveable as the certain and inevitable final position of the Christian in God's judgment. This teaching is a little hard to square with what the Bible has to say about the Bema judgment. Will no blame be attatched to those who have been unfaithful in their Christian service? The same epistle teaches this in chapter 3:24-25.

More significantly, the next verse makes this promise conditional:

"If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister."

Earlier in the same passage, Paul makes it clear that redemption and the forgiveness of sins are present posessions (verse 14) and he identifies the present position of the Colossians as reconciled (verse 21).

So if reconciliation from sin is a present posession, but being presented holy, unblameable and unreprovaeable is conditional upon future conduct, then it would seem that Paul is talking about two different positions for the believer and that it is not certain that the Christian will enter the position of being presented holy, unblameable and unreproveable in God's sight.

This demonstrates that though forgiveness of sin and eternal salvation is a present position of the believer, being acceptable at the judgment seat of Christ depends upon faithfulness. This truth upholds both the free offer of salvation and the vital importance of a holy walk. We as believers are saved by grace and are reconciled to God. However, if we are not faithful, we will be found wanting before the Judgment Seat of Christ and will be ashamed. The unfaithful Christian does not demerit salvation, but is saved as by fire (1 Cor 3:15). The final results of such a failure are the loss of status and privilege in the Kingdom of God.

The preacher seemed to contradict his own interpretation of verse 22 when he got on to verse 23. He implied by his teaching that some true believers had in fact failed the test of faithfulness in that verse. This was utter confusion. It seemed that he was using a Scriptural exhortation while completely ignoring the context of that exhortation and removing the ramifications of it.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Street Preaching Today

There was just two of us today. I preached twice.

I started by talking about the Muslims' anger over those cartoons depicting Muhammed. I quoted 'It is a fearful thing to fall into the living God'. I said that if those Muslims are angry at Muhammed being mocked, how much more angry must God be over the His name being taken in vain? I then explained how Christ came into the world to save sinners. I compared Christ with Muhammed, showing that not one sinner was saved by Muhammed, yet in Christ there is life.

My companion talked to some teenagers and an old man who believed he would go to heaven because he sang in a church choir as a boy.

We were joined briefly by a chap who used to preach with us, but had to give it up because of extreme anxiety and depression. These days he is travelling from town to town giving out tracts.

I encountered a guy I had spoken to before, who I call Craig the Taoist. He enjoys talking to me and is fanatical about Tai Chi and New Age thought. He told me a that somebody had prayed for him and he had experienced 'Jesus speaking to him'. He claimed to have come to a new understanding of the 'essence' of Jesus, being clear to maintain that Jesus was 'not some being up there'. He was still as confused as ever.

I also spoke to a guy I call Dave the Socialist. He quoted Jesus' words about becoming as a child and used this to argue that Jesus meant that people are born good, but are corrupted by society. I refuted his interpretation, but he refused to see the flaws in his hermeneutics.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Islam in Britain

Islam is growing in Britain. Not just through their high birth rate. There are White folks who are converting to Islam, particularly in prisons where Imams work hard to convert prisonners, just like Christian evangelists.

I am pretty concerned about the growth of Islam in the UK. The Muslims simply do not show the concern for freedom of speech and religion that makes life easier in the West. We may not like the liberal consensus, but it provides freedom for Christians, just like everybody else. I do not believe a word of that nonsense about persecution always being good for the Church. Tell me that when you have lived in fear of being put in prison and tortured for just giving out a Gospel tract.

The government of our country tells us that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance.

A Christian friend of mine told me that there are two possibilities. Either the government really believes this, in which case they will do nothing to deal with the dangers of Islam.

Alternatively, it could be that the government really does understand Islam and will try to neutralize the threat. It will embrace Islam and offer them privileges and enable them to gain degrees and academic recognition through their colleges and offer state funding (and interference) to their schools. That way, by making the Muslims comfortable, they will be corrupted by the same decadent liberal values as the rest of the nation.

That seems to be the strategy behind the desire of Blair and Bush to bring Turkey into membership of the European Union.

The fact is that not all Muslims are potential suicide bombers or radical proselytisers. There are plenty of Muslims who want to enjoy the same worldly, sinful and selfish lifestyles as the rest of the population enjoys. There are plenty of these worldly Muslims in Islamic countries to and they will be instrumental in bringing the Islamic world closer to the West. It is possible that the materialism of the West may yet triumpth over the puritanical idolatry of Islam.

There are some Christians who are deeply worried about the possibility of Britain becoming Islamic. This is very unlikely. Statistics show that the Muslims currently represent only a small proportion of the population. Even with their birth rate being higher than White British, it will take thwm years to equal the PseudoChristian population. We will also see an increase in white PseudoChristians (and real Christians) coming into the country from Eastern Europe as a result of E.U. enlargement. Not to mention Christian immigration from Asia. There are Christian immigrants from Asia worshipping in my Church.

Part of the mistake of Islamic extremists is in thinking that those in the West are soft. They seem to assume that all westerners are like the 'liberals' who pander to their religion. This is not true. The Iraq War proved that the West has the stomach for aggression. The population of Britain is ready to support repressive anit-terrorist measures.

The fact is that the majority of people in Britain distrust Islam. They recognise that the Muslims have different values and they are ready for a conflict if it comes.

My PhD supervisor (who is a Church of England minister) had a conversation with a bricklayer who was at work in the university. The bricklayer said:

"I hope you theology lecturers are not into supporting these Muslims who are coming here. I dont like the way they come to this country carrying on the way they do; spreading their strange ideas."

There are many who share his attitude.

Offending Islam

The entire Islamic world is in an uproar after cartoons were published first, in Denmark, which mocked the prophet Muhammed. What a thin-skinned bunch! We Christians constantly hear of Christ being blasphemed.

I am glad this has happened. The Muslims need to learn that they cannot always have things their own way. They cannot use free speech to attack the West and Israel constantly and also demand that their religion must be protected from mockery. They need to learn that you have to give as well as take.

Of course, in principle there is no inherent right to free speech in God's moral order. In ideal circumstances, a Christian blaspehemy law would be quite beneficial. However, for the moment free speech suits everyone, except the Muslims who want everyone to submit to them and to have everything their own way.

The thing I really detest about contemporary Islam, is the victim mentality that they have adopted. The Muslims insist that they are victims, victims of the Israelis, victims of the Crusaders, victims of the USA and victims of the Blair government. The Muslim Council of Britain even boycotts the Holocaust memorial day because they insist that Muslims in Palestine are suffering just as badly as the Jews in the Second World War.

The use of pity to manipulate people is really horrible. I have seen it in individuals. They make out that they are matyrs or victims and use it to get their own way. It seems to me that Muslims are adopting this trick on a grand scale.

Meanwhile, the people who are really suffering are Christians and defenders of Human Rights in Muslim countries who are treated absolutely shamefully.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Prime Minister must have thought "Aww, pants!"

The prime minister was defeated for the second time in parliament last night. Despite having a government majority, the Religious Hatred Bill was defeated by just one vote. The irony was that the bill would have passed if the prime minister had actually turned up to vote himself. In Parliamentary Question Time today, the prime minister said that he would have to remember to turn up to vote when it came to the big Education Bill which is coming soon.

The government will now have to accept some amendments to their legislation.

This law would have been very significant. It's aim was to criminalize threagtening or insulting treatment towards a person on the basis of their religion. It could have significantly restricted free speech. God has answered many prayers in halting this legislation.

A Guide to the British Political System for American Readers

I have posted many times on British politics, however, many of my readers will be quite in the dark as to the context of these posts. So, I have written a guide to how the whole British political system works. Of course, I am only assuming that my American and Canadian (and others, I must not forget Kitty Cheng and Paul W) readers have any interest in this.

Strangely, when I studied law, the lecturer who taught me constitutional and public law was an American. She had studied law having emigrated to the UK and so knew very little of American law.

The United States has a written constitution, a document that defines all of the powers of government and how the system works. We British like to be a bit different and so we have an unwritten consitution. Instead of having a written consitution, we have lots of traditions or conventions. The system works because those in power stick to these conventions. If they were ignored, everything would fall apart.

Queen Elizabeth II is the chief of state. All of the organs of governent act in her name. Hence, we have the Crown Prosecution Service, the Crown Court and Her Majesty's Prisons. All primary legislation must be signed by the Queen. By convention, this is never refused. If the Queen were to refuse to sign a new law, there would be a constitutional crisis. Nobody would know what to do.

The Queen has a number of residual powers called the Royal Prerogative. These are exercised on her behalf by the prime minister. These include the power to make treaties or go to war. They are very rarely used and some would like to see them abolished.

Though the Queen's role is primarily symbolic she has a lot of experience and has a weekly meeting with the prime minister. This is no doubt very helpful to him.

The United States has two legislative assemblies, the Senate and the Congress. Likewise, the United Kingdom has two parliamentary chambers, the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

The House of Commons is elected by the people. The country is divided into constituencies, each of which elects a member of parliament. All primary legislation begins as a bill in the House of Commons. The discuss a bill and then if they vote for it, they send it to the House of Lords to be discussed some more.

The House of Lords is not elected. It's members used to be a mixture of hereditary lords and appointed lords. Now there are only a small number of hereditary lords remaining in the chamber. They will eventually be abolished, though it is not certain if elected lords will be introduced in the future. Five bishops from the Church of England also sit in the House of Lords. The House of Lords can only delay legislation; it cannot stop legislation being passed by the House of Commons.

Every five years there must be a general election (usually every four years). By convention, the Queen appoints the leader of the party with the largest number of members of parliament as prime minister. He then forms a government.

The current prime minister is Tony Blair. He leads a Labour government. The Labour party are very much like the American Democrats. They used to be Socialists, but have moved to the right. There are some Labour politicians who feel that Blair is too conservative and to friendly with President Bush. They are causing the government lots of problems.

The second largest party is the Conservative Party. They are more like the American Republicans. They are not quite as conservative, however. My parents and I are members. The Conservative party has a new leader called David Cameron who is trying to appear more liberal. Some people say that this is just a cosmetic change and he will be just like G.W. Bush when he gets into power (may it be). He looks a bit like me, except without the spectacles.

The third party is the Liberal Democrats. Recent events that I have posted on have made this party look ridiculose. They will never be in government because nobody really knows what they stand for.

In the United States, there is a complete separation of powers. This is a fundamental principle of the American political system. The executive, the legislature and the judiciary are completely separate from each other. In Britain, there is no separation of powers. The majority of ministers sit in the House of Commons, including the prime minister. The supreme court of Britain are the Law Lords who sit in the House of Lords.

Free Grace Theology: Response to Daniel of Doulogos

Free Grace Theology: Response to Daniel of Doulogos