There’s No Point in Thinking There’s Been ‘Change’ in Washington

Look what’s really going on in Congress

Democrats reacted possessively on Thursday to Republican Minority Leader John Boehner’s effort to persuade JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon that the financial industry should be giving Republicans money rather than Democrats. Boehner’s overture to Dimon, in which he made the case that Republicans better represent the industry’s interests, was reported by the Wall Street Journal this morning in a story about how GOP fund-raisers are trying to capitalize on bankers’ regrets over backing President Obama.

Democrats and Republicans both are fawning after bank and Wall Street campaign dollars. Nothing has changed in Washington, and nothing will until ethics replace greed (which means of course that Washington will never change).

Believe politicians if you wish, but realize you will always be ignored when big money waves its carrot and realize too that what big business wants is what Congress will do.

Baptists in Haiti Charged With Kidnapping

A Haitian attorney says 10 Americans detained in Haiti for trying to take 33 children out of the country after the Jan. 12 earthquake have been charged with child kidnapping. Edwin Coq says the Americans also are charged with criminal association. The 10 appeared in court Thursday and were whisked away to a jail in Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince.

Very sad.

Angry Atheists, And Why They Are

Shayne Looper writes, in part

I find it sad that one of the country’s leading booksellers could not provide a more representative selection from the field [of religious publications].

The explanation may lie in the fact that serious philosophy does not sell at a very healthy pace, while self-discovery memoirs by angry atheists do. The free market is alive and well at your local bookseller.

My son called my attention to a book written by a former pastor from our area, John Loftus, which has garnered national attention. After becoming involved in an affair and going through a divorce, being fired from his job at a non-profit and released from his church, Mr. Loftus began questioning his beliefs and eventually left the faith.

That explains why Loftus has an ax to grind against his former beliefs. He violated their core principles and rather than repent, rebelled.  Little wonder, then, that Loftus set out to join Avalos and Heard in his little anti-Jim campaign of a while back.  Perhaps he was troubled by mention of total depravity, being an example of it in such a shining way himself.  Or perhaps Mr Looper is correct.  Loftus rejected god because the god he knew wasn’t God at all just as Avalos the failed faith healer rejected the god he had made in his own image.

I believe that Mr. Loftus was right to reject his beliefs. The former pastor did well to turn away from his god — because his god was not the real one. His view of God, as even my cursory reading made clear, was inconsistent with, and contradictory to, the view of God presented by Jesus in the Bible.  The god John Loftus renounced merited rejection. The God made known by Jesus merits devotion. The degree to which a person’s view of God conforms to reality will determine the degree of loyalty that person has to the faith. It is hard to remain true to an illusion.

So Loftus isn’t really angry at God at all.  Loftus is angry at the god he constructed in his own mind.  And that’s why every person who is an atheist, is an atheist.  The god they have made lets them down, and they abandon their idol.  Tragically, they suppose that their god is also the God known by real Christians.  But in this too they are wrong.

Anyway, as Looper points out, Geisler has dealt with Loftus and, mutatis mutandis, all atheist idol worshipers.

Sad News: The Death of D.J. Wiseman

On the Biblical Studies list, David Baker writes

I just heard the sad news of the passing on February 2 of Donald Wiseman, Emeritus Professor of Assyriology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He was a leading figure in Assyriological studies (The Alalakh Tablet, 1953; Chronicles of Chaldean Kings [626-556 BC], 1956); ‘Assyria and Babylonia c. 1200-1000 BC, in CAH II/2, 1975; The Vassal Treaties of Esarhaddon, 1958; Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon, 1985; ‘Babylonia 605-539 BC’ in CAH III/2, 1991) and in the study of Old Testament history and backgrounds (Illustrations from Biblical Archaeology, 1958; Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, 1965; 1&2 Kings, 1993). He is one who truly comes to mind when thinking of ‘a gentleman and a scholar.’

David W. Baker Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages Ashland Theological Seminary

UPDATE: You can read Alan Millard’s tribute to Professor Wiseman here.

It’s Another Dark Day For Baptists

The New York Times reports

While the Baptist church members remain in a Port-au-Prince jail for another night, American Scientologists are celebrating the praise heaped on their volunteer ministers in the Haitian capital during this glowing report on NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday. The report, headlined “Scientologists Make a Difference in Haiti,” shows volunteers working in a Port-au-Prince hospital alongside a doctor who pronounces herself “very impressed” and is narrated by a reporter who gives an enthusiastic account of Scientology healing and organizational techniques.

Dreadful. If only our Baptist brethren had followed proper procedure instead of letting their good intentions get the best of them.

Here’s the NBC segment.

Pray for our Baptist colleagues and pray that one and all learn a terribly important lesson in all this: doing right means doing it right.

Lost Lostness

From the Boston Globe

I only mention this because I find the imputation of religious themes, indeed one of the more significant religious themes for Christians, the Last Supper, to a tv show bizarre and just about blasphemous. Is Lost a new religion? Will its adherents enter sweat lodges in purification ceremonies because their guru (whoever that turns out to be) urges them to do so and there perish seeking Lost-enlightenment?

People are already prone to make an idol of just about everything (including but not limited to football, basketball, actors, actresses, gurus, plants, animals, money, singers, family, etc., etc., etc.). It wouldn’t be surprising if they did a tv show the same way, since, as Luther correctly observed, ‘people either worship God, or an idol’.

The real shame will be when Christians abandon their faith for Lostness.

Melanchthon 2010

A new volume for the anniversary of Melanchthon’s death has appeared (and there will probably be a number of them this year) – Philipp Melanchthon und seine Zeit.

2010 jährt sich im April der Todestag Philipp Melanchthons zum 450. Mal. Melanchthon gehörte zu den großen Reformatoren und zu den Reformatoren der ersten Stunde. Anders als Luther, Zwingli und Calvin hat er die ganze Reformationsgeschichte miterlebt und mitgestaltet, von den Anfängen mit Luthers Thesen 1517 bis zum Ende mit dem Augsburger Religionsfrieden 1555. Melanchthon schrieb das erste Lehrbuch für evangelische Theologie, Melanchthon verfasste das wichtigste evangelische Glaubensbekenntnis, Melanchthon gestaltete das evangelische Schul- und Universitätswesen.