Daily Archives: 16 Jan 2010

The 41st Annual ‘Karl Barth Tagung’

Is 12-15 July, 2010 and this year focuses on Barth’s concept of sin.   And Barth knew all about sin.  At first hand.  Just ask Charlotte…

Anyway, you can download the very informative flyer for the event here.

What I’m Reading…

Now is a delightful treatment of liturgy and church praxis in Zwingli’s Zurich by Ralph Kunz titled Gottesdienst evangelisch reformiert.  If the history of the Reformation or the history of liturgical practice is of interest, I recommend this volume.

Creation Doesn’t Reveal of God What Only Christ Can

Calvin wrote

[So] it is in vain that there are so many lamps in the edifice of the world, shining to illuminate the Creator’s glory for us, since no matter how they cast their rays on us they cannot lead us in the right path. They do indeed cast some sparks, but these are quenched before they can come to full light.

This is precisely why, on the question of natural revelation, Barth was right and Brunner was wrong.  The created order can reveal a creator- but it cannot reveal The Creator.

Uganda, Hate Isn’t A Gospel Principle…

In spite of whatever it is American Televangelists have been telling you.

A Ugandan preacher with close ties to US evangelicals and President Yoweri Museveni’s family said last Friday he planned to organise a “million-man” march in February to support a proposed anti-gay law in Parliament.

But that law calls for homosexuals to be executed, and that’s sub-christian, anti-christian barbarism. So don’t march for it. March against it.  Hate isn’t what Jesus had in mind when he forgave the woman caught in adultery and sent her on her way with his rightly famous, ‘go, and sin no more’.  He didn’t say, ‘ok guys, go ahead and kill her’.

Total Depravity: The Pastoral Misconduct Edition

A Clarksville man is facing child exploitation charges after police said they caught him in the act, according to a WLKY-TV report. The Evening News’ newsgathering partner reported that investigators believe Ronald Wayne Williams, 47, was on his computer for hours at a time soliciting young girls to perform sex acts. Williams used threats and intimidation to get teenagers to perform sex acts in front of their Webcams, investigators say. He is charged with class C felony child exploitation, three counts of class C felony child solicitation, three counts of class D felony vicarious sexual gratification, three counts of class D felony intimidation, two counts of class D felony stalking.

Would you guys who call yourselves Pastors and yet who act in perverted and wicked ways just quit please. You’re doing more harm than good. Go into auto sales or Congress or something. But please, for the sake of all that’s good and right in Christianity, quit being ministers.

Focus on the Family + Tim Tebow = Superbowl Advert

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting

Focus on the Family is not revealing details of the message, but the story is expected to detail the Tebow’s pro-life message in line with Christian faith. Pam got very sick while on a Philippines overseas mission trip and was recommended by doctors to abort the baby that became Tebow.

Focus on the Family long ago gave up the moral high ground when it decided to dabble in politics and side with one political perspective rather than stay with its core message of support for the family. That was a tragic mistake.

Tragic too is their upcoming exploitation of a kid who just plays a game. It plays right into the hands of those who have melted Christianity with culture instead of recognizing that Christianity must always stand aloof from culture or risk being commandeered by it. Culture, in other words, does not = Christianity and cultural Christianity is the great error of our time (resulting in seeker sensitive movements and the emergent heresy).

Adolf von Harnack was crystal clear as long ago as 1899 when he noted that the biggest mistake Christianity made in the 4th century was that ‘instead of going into the world, the Church allowed the world into itself’.  The modern church is doing exactly the same thing.  To its own harm and the world’s damnation.

Christ, Kingdom, and Culture: Westminster Seminary’s 2010 Conference

Questions concerning how Christians ought to relate to the broader culture, how to serve God in their daily vocation, and how to relate the Word and kingdom of God to every aspect of life are as ancient as the Christian faith itself. Whether it was the question whether to pay taxes or whether to eat meat offered to idols, Scripture addressed these issues repeatedly. Throughout its history the church has always been challenged to distinguish the faith from the culture without hiding from the culture and without being taken captive by it. This conference will address the sovereignty of God as it relates to his kingdom, to our role as Christians in God’s world, in the state, at work, at school, and in the church.

They’re streaming video of the various sessions and they’ll upload all the session videos on February 1.

It looks like a pretty interesting affair. With thanks to Scott for mentioning it.

A Fascinating Image of the Haiti Quake

The European space agency isn’t leaving all the imaging to NASA. They’ve put together their own image of the situation in Port-au-Prince and display the most damaged areas in red and yellow.

Click to enlarge.  With such tools, the aid workers on the ground can be directed to the areas where the most damage has been done and the people in the most dire circumstances.

The Lane Kiffin Song

Is Pat Robertson Possessed by Satan?

One Valerie Tarico thinks so.

It appears that televangelist Pat Robertson is in the thrall of Satan, according to spiritual warriors, Drs. Valerie Tarico and Marlene Winell. “It’s the only possible explanation,” said Tarico. “How else can we make sense of his repeated attempts to humiliate both God and Christianity in the wake of recent natural disasters.”

I have to admit that this actually made me laugh. Out loud. Talk about ‘turning the tables’ on someone.  Still, I’ve never heard of this Tarico person or her partner and they might be as loony as Robertson is. In fact…

We spoke with Dr. Winell in her Bay Area office. “Demons need a host, and they can jump from one person to another,” she explained.

I’ve known more than my share of people who were hosts to demons. Some of them were deacons. Others were bloggers.

Could this be the work of any old run-of-the-mill demon? “I doubt it,” said Winell. “Those remarks were broadcast to an enormous audience. Probably tens of thousands of people were turned off of Christianity and the Christian God. I think this is an organized media strategy by Satan himself. We’re talking about Beelzebub, the Father of Lies. The guy is a marketing genius. This is the snake that sold Adam and Eve an apple in trade for paradise.”

Uh oh… with that last sentence Winell proves herself both dilettante and untrustworthy. The Bible doesn’t call the creature in the Garden a snake (but a serpent) and there’s no reason to think it was an apple (except for the influence of that goofy Milton guy who apparently knew as much about the Bible as Winell).

Oh well. I was hopeful that Winell and company had a clue. I’m disappointed. But not surprised.

Survey the Haiti Quake Damage with Google Earth

If you go here you can download a file of images from Google Earth showing the devastation in Haiti (and it’s even more impressive than Nasa’s images).  You can zoom in and out as you wish.

You’ll need to have Google Earth installed on your computer.

Zwingli’s Prayer

Should be every theologian and exegete’s prayer…

Omnipotens sempiterne et misericors Deus, cuius verbum est lucerna pedibus nostris et lumen semitarum nostrarum, aperi et illumina mentes nostras ut oracula tua pure et sancte intelligamus et in illud quod recte intellexerimus transformemur, quo maiestati tuae nulla ex parte displiceamus: per Jesum Christum dominum nostrum. Amen.

OK, Maybe J.I. Packer Is Right About At Least One Thing

I’m not much of a Packer fan.  But when someone’s right, they’re right.  And Packer is right when he asserts that

“We [the Church] are drifting back into paganism, that’s the truth,” he said in a lecture last Saturday at St Matthew’s Cathedral in Dallas, according to The Living Church News Service. The 83-year-old Anglican priest has co-authored a new book, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, in which he makes the case that catechesis is a non-negotiable practice of churches and is of no less value than Bible study and expository preaching. During Saturday’s lecture, he said he yearns for “Bible-based, Christ-centred, declarative in style”. But recovering catechesis in churches will be a challenge, he added. Earlier, he called it the greatest challenge for the 21st century church.

It’s true. Too many Christians know nothing about their faith. And that’s why some can adopt new age ideas or follow emergent church theologies or swallow the ‘seeker sensitive’ reprobation. Down with dilettantism. Up with catechism!

Christian Today, You Need A New Front Page Editor

Here’s why- and note the subject of the arrow…

The moral for the rest of us- check and double check… or you just look a bit silly.

Violence Against Malaysian Christians Continues

AFP reports

A Protestant church in Malaysia has been vandalised, its spokesman said Saturday, apparently the latest in a spate of attacks triggered by a row over the use of the word “Allah”. Windows of the two-storey church in southern Negeri Sembilan state, on the Malay peninsula, were found to have been smashed late Friday, David Raju, spokesman for the Grace Global Prayer Church told AFP. “I think this is part of an attack on churches in the country,” Raju said. … The attack is 11th against a Christian church since the High Court ruled in favour of allowing the Catholic Church’s Herald newspaper to use “Allah” in its Malay-language section as a translation for “God”.

It’s truly tragic that violence is seen as a means to an end. But what end? What’t the purpose of all this violence but to intimidate Christians and drive them out?

What the perpetrators of this violence clearly don’t know, though, is that Christians don’t run. Neither do they retaliate. Instead, they pray for their enemies and persecutors. And as someone once observed, there’s nothing you can do to someone who prays for you that will make them stop.