Daily Archives: 19 Jan 2010

Wisdom From 1742: Marriage and the Philadelphia Confession

In 1742 the Philadelphia Confession was authored and adopted. Chapter 26 dealt with marriage. It reads almost as if it were written today:

Of  Marriage

1. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman; neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband at the same time.

(Gen. 2:24; Mal. 2:15; Matt. 19:5,6)

2. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife, for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and the preventing of uncleanness.

(Gen. 2:18; Gen. 1:28; 1 Cor. 7:2, 9)

3. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent; yet it is the duty of Christians to marry in the Lord; and therefore such as profess the true religion, should not marry with infidels, or idolaters; neither should such as are godly, be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresy.

(Heb. 13:4; 1 Tim. 4:3; 1 Cor. 7:39; Neh. 13:25-27)

4. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity, forbidden in the Word; nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful, by any law of man or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife.

(Levit. 18; Mark 6:18; 1 Cor. 5;1)

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Posted by on 19 Jan 2010 in Modern Culture, Theology


Why? Because Even in Massachusettes People Are Fed Up

That’s why a Republican is set to take a seat in the Senate Democrats have held for a very long time.

People are sick to death of lying politicians and unkept promises and wretched economic conditions and lobbyists and Wall Street extravagance and everything else Main Street has suffered.

Not that a Republican will be any better than a Democrat. Rather, the old maxim ‘better the devil you know than the one you don’t’ has been superseded by a new maxim- ‘better the devil you don’t know than the evil pandering politician you do’.

Though he wasn’t on the ballot, the president was on many voters’ minds. “I voted for Obama because I wanted change. … I thought he’d bring it to us, but I just don’t like the direction that he’s heading,” said John Triolo, 38, a registered independent who voted in Fitchburg. He said his frustrations, including what he considered the too-quick pace of health care legislation, led him to vote for Brown.

He’s not alone. We all wanted change. And now, if we check our pockets, that’s all we have… So I suppose in a way, we’ve gotten just what we wanted and just what we deserve.

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Posted by on 19 Jan 2010 in Modern Culture


Prop 8 Trial Update

The Mayor of San Diego testified today that he’s had a change of heart about gay marriage. First he was against it and then he learned that his daughter was in a lesbian relationship and now he’s for it.

Funny, isn’t it, how morality is decided upon in lots of cases by personal preference instead of absolutes. The cultural relativization of morality is on display in such decisions. I suppose it’s fair to presume that if his daughter were straight and had been harassed because she supported Prop 8, the Mayor would never have had his change of heart.

People, given their nature of intense self interest, usually choose their morality from a smorgasbord of options the same way they choose salad at the local steakhouse buffet. As soon as the choices change, so do their decisions.

But of course any society operating on the basis of personal whim is certain to be a society fragmented and decaying.


Posted by on 19 Jan 2010 in Modern Culture


Over 300 Killed in Religious Strife in Nigeria

You’d think we were once again living in the age of religious wars, wouldn’t you, with all the violence in Malaysia and Nigeria between Muslims and Christians.

Armed with guns, machetes, torches and bows and arrows, Christian and Muslim antagonists in central Nigeria’s religiously volatile city of Jos have been fighting for three days in sporadic clashes that have left dozens dead, witnesses and local news accounts said Tuesday. It was difficult to ascertain a precise number of casualties in Jos, the scene of frequent religious violence over the past decade. Estimates of the death toll ranged from 30 to 300, as the city was still consumed by mayhem Tuesday evening, with security forces descending on Jos in an attempt to contain it.

Christians and Muslims in Nigeria should all be ashamed of this sort of behavior. And they should certainly put an end to it. Immediately.

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Posted by on 19 Jan 2010 in Modern Culture


Now What Do You Think About That!

και γαρ οφειλοντες ειναι διδασκαλοι δια τον χρονον παλιν χρειαν εχετε του διδασκειν υμας τινα τα στοιχεια της αρχης των λογιων του θεου και γεγονατε χρειαν εχοντες γαλακτος ου στερεας τροφης. — Hebrews 5

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Posted by on 19 Jan 2010 in Bible


How To Talk About Stuff That’s Not Nice In Nice Terms…

If you ever find yourself desperately searching for terms capable of being used in polite company for things that aren’t at all polite, I advise a dip into the pool of multi-liguiscity©.

For instance, rather than using the rather unpleasant phrase ‘shacking up’ to describe cohabitation by those lacking the benefit of marital legitimization, try Zusammenleben.  ‘Boy, isn’t it tragic that Bob and Mary are acting depraved and Zusammenleben!’  Or if you prefer Greek- try συμβίωση. Or if Hebrew’s more your style, give לחיות יחד a try. How about Finnish- elävät yhdessä (just be careful in pronunciation or you’re liable to say something even worse than ‘shacking up’!). And should you wish to be utterly obscure, just drop a note to the offending reprobates and tell them to stop एक साथ रहने वाले.

This methodology works for any situation that you find distasteful or inappropriate. You can soundly denounce and renounce without making anyone at all mad at you.

So, to give another example,

Chuck Gratham, I find your comments completely मूर्ख and your ideas безсмислен and your clothes prljav.

And you can do it all with a smile on your face and even receive a thank you from your victim.

Yes, friends and neighbors, multi-liguiscity© is the key to your personal joy and your enemy’s הרס מוחלט.


Posted by on 19 Jan 2010 in Humor, Modern Culture


Joel It’s Not a ‘Code’, It’s an Abbreviation

So I must sort-of-respectfully (as much as I can manage such emotional stuff) disagree with you.

I don’t care one way or the other about the stamping of Scripture on weapons.  I’m still waiting for them all to be beaten into plowshares and pruning hooks.  What I thought bizarre was the whole slant on the story ABC gave it.  It’s weird.  So too, I’m afraid, is your nearly equally weird reaction to the story.

Weirdness is all around these days.  In Amsterdam and Washington and now even in West Virginia!   What next, cousins marrying????  What’s the world coming to…   😉


Posted by on 19 Jan 2010 in Humor, Modern Culture




The Society of Biblical Literature is partnering with the Biblical Archaeology Society to provide theBiblical Archaeology Review to SBL members for only $5 plus shipping.

The Biblical Archaeology Review is the most widely read magazine concerning the archaeology of the Greco-Roman and Ancient Near Eastern world. Moreover, it is written in a langauge that is accessible to a wide range of people. The $5 subscription covers one year or twelve issues of this magazine. Shipping charges vary depending on the location of the subscriber.”

Antonio Lombatti sent me that little jewel. I’m both speechless and – yeah – speechless.


Posted by on 19 Jan 2010 in Bible


Absurd Quote of the Day…

Although absurd might not be exactly the right word for it… Maybe tragic or ridiculous or disturbing suit better. Anyway, the Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam observes

“Only the biggest creeps and boozers are walking around at those hours”.

And what are those hours? 4-8 a.m…..  Evidently it’s odd for people in Amsterdam to get up early.  Maybe it’s because they stay up so late doing depraved things.  Oddly, I now feel strangely unclean because I normally get up between 4 and 5 to start work or go to the gym.

Amsterdam’s a strange place, isn’t it…

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Posted by on 19 Jan 2010 in Modern Culture, Total Depravity


Quote of the Day

When it is accepted that the Word which is offered comes from God, there is no one of such desperate presumption (unless he is completely devoid of both natural feeling and even of humanity) who will dare to depart from faith in it. — John Calvin


Posted by on 19 Jan 2010 in Bible, Theology


The Egyptian Cat-goddess Temple

Archaeologists have unearthed a 2,000-year-old temple that may have been dedicated to the ancient Egyptian cat goddess, Bastet, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said Tuesday. The ruins of the Ptolemaic-era temple were discovered by Egyptian archaeologists in the heart of the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C.

Alexandria’s a beautiful city. Far nicer than Cairo and a thousand times cleaner. This is a neat discovery and offers evidence as to why the Ptolemaic empire was defeated: any culture that worships cats is doomed from the outset.   😉

Anyway, my anti-kitty-ness notwithstanding, the article is interesting and worth your time to read.  They even have photos of some of the artifacts.

And – speaking of Alexandria, here are some photos from there I took in 2009.

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Posted by on 19 Jan 2010 in Modern Culture


A Humorous Assault on Church ‘Small Groups’

It’s a fine skewering of the miserable theology operative in loads of ‘new age churchianity’. Via Ron.

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Posted by on 19 Jan 2010 in Humor


Climate Change: Voodoo Science

Spiegel Online has an essay worth considering. It commences

Klimaforscher in Erklärungsnot: Das Uno-Wissenschaftlergremium IPCC hat das Verschwinden der Himalaja-Gletscher bis 2035 vorausgesagt – aber das beruht offenbar auf peinlichen Fehlern. Ein Forscher wirft dem Weltklimarat vor, Zahlen falsch und ungeprüft übernommen zu haben.

Thanks to Ron for the catchy ‘Voodoo Science’ title in a posting on FB.

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Posted by on 19 Jan 2010 in Modern Culture


The President’ ‘Faith’ in Faith

Der Glaube lässt US-Präsident Barack Obama auch in schwierigen Zeiten ruhig bleiben. Das erklärte der 48-jährige Politiker am 17. Januar im Gottesdienst der Baptistengemeinde an der Washingtoner Vermont Avenue.

But faith in what? In faith? In positive thinking? In some vague ‘god concept’?  Faith in introspection?

I ask because the President’s track record on living out his faith in common assembly with other believers (as Christianity has always taught and as the Bible requires) is woefully insubstantial. It’s nonexistent outside of photo ops in fact.

The last President who actually lived his faith was Jimmy Carter. He was regular in his participation in the community of faith and he valued that participation. Not so with his replacements. Reagan attended sporadically as did Clinton. Ford didn’t much and neither did either Bush. And Obama has only scantily.

Mind you, if the President, or anyone else, doesn’t want to attend worship that’s their business. I only wish that such persons would stop asserting the nonsense that they are ‘faithful’ Christians. Faith in Christ is not just some vague feeling of a sense of faith. Even the demons believe. And tremble. Faith, authentic and genuine faith, results in participation, community, mutual encouragement, and action. Any other notion of faith is unbiblical and delusional.

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Posted by on 19 Jan 2010 in Modern Culture, Theology


Harold Attridge: On Pat Robertson’s Crazy Comment

Dean Harold Attridge of Yale Divinity School said there are no distinctions in God’s eyes between people who suffer and those who don’t. “God is there with those who suffer, as well as those who prosper, but he isn’t pulling the strings,” he said. To focus on God’s role “doesn’t provide consolation to people who are suffering terribly and deserve our support and our generosity,” Attridge said.


Attridge called Robertson’s comment “a very unfortunate way of framing the situation in Haiti.” He acknowledged that Robertson was coming from “a long religious heritage that has wrestled with these questions,” such as in the Book of Deuteronomy, in which “there’s a kind of simple correlation between the sins that Israel commits and the things it suffers.” But Attridge said the Bible as a whole refutes that theology, describing God’s mercy. For example, in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus describes an apparently contemporary event in which a tower fell on some workers, saying God didn’t decide who would die. “They’re reading selectively in a tradition that says something, at the end of the day, quite different,” he said.

Well said, as always, Harry.

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Posted by on 19 Jan 2010 in Bible, Modern Culture, Theology