Thursday, November 12, 2009
The Conquering of the New World:The Competion of Two Ideas IHC01
Joe Morecraft III Ideas Have Consequences Chalcedon Presbyterian Church Play! 71 min
The Occupation of the New World: Triumph of a Good Idea IHC02
Joe Morecraft III Ideas Have Consequences Chalcedon Presbyterian Church Play! 83 min
The Death of the New World - Dominance of a Bad Idea IHC03
Joe Morecraft III Ideas Have Consequences Chalcedon Presbyterian Church Play! 77 min
The Reconquest of the New World: The Recovery of a Good Idea IHC04
Joe Morecraft III Ideas Have Consequences Chalcedon Presbyterian Church Play! 64 min
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
It is my hope and prayer that I have demonstrated that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself taught the very same doctrinal complex that has come to be known as "Christian Reconstructionism". If the testimony of Moses, the Prophets, and the Apostolic epistles are added to the words of Jesus, one finds these principles taught in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. This should not be surprising since Jesus is the eternal Word of God, "the way, the truth, and the life." (John 1:1, 14:6). May His bride, the Church, be faithful to believe and obey the words that come from the lips of her glorious Lord.
"Theonomy" simply means God's law. Logically the only alternative to God's law is humanism. One will either follow the law of God as a blueprint for the three main human institutions, (church, family, and state), or he will follow a humanistic set of values. It is no coincidence that the 20th century has witnessed the breakdown of these three institutions as dispensational ideas have driven the Church (and therefore civilization) further and further away from Biblical law.
The question before us is this: Did Jesus in His establishment of the New Covenant abrogate Old Covenant law? Did He dispense with God's law in favor of some sort of natural law as espoused by modem dispensationalist theologian Norman Geisler?
In the Lord's prayer, Jesus Christ taught His disciples principles of prayer. Practically every Christian knows and prays the Lord's prayer. I often wonder how many really pay attention to what they are praying. One of the petitions that a Christian brings to God's throne of grace is that God's will be done in earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10). What is God's will? God's will is not some mystical natural law fallen man is supposed to attempt to deduce from creation. God's will is His law revealed in Scripture! Check this out by studying the 119th psalm. God wants His people to work for His perfect will to be done on earth. This will benefit everyone since God is perfect grace, love, and justice. God's law is a reflection of His perfect attributes.
It astounds me that some professing Christians would rather be under the bloody, oppressive hand of man rather than under the loving hand of our God whose mercy is great. Norman Geisler, professor of systematic theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, has actually stated it this way, "'Lets get back to our Christian Heritage. God Forbid!' In a taped lecture entitled, 'Christian Reconstructionism: A Biblical Critique,' Geisler said not only that he would not want to go back to America's Christian heritage, but that he would not have biblical law over him as the standard of society."
Another interesting aspect about this debate is the observation that very few Christians (excluding radical dispensationalists) deny the validity of the Ten Commandments. Yet the Ten Commandments comprise the summary of God's law. The case laws of the Pentateuch are simply the practical applications of the summary. Logically, if the Ten Commandments are still binding then the explanatory case laws of the Ten Commandments must still be binding. An examination of the gospels of Matthew and John show that our Lord Jesus Christ taught the continued application of the Old Testament law. God loves His people too much to force them to wander in ethical darkness and uncertainty. He has given His children the light of His law by which to walk.
When tempted by the devil during his 40 days of fasting in the wilderness, Matthew 4:4 records that Jesus quoted Deut. 8:3 to rebuke Satan. Jesus said: "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." If Jesus was about to institute a dispensational change from God's law to some sort of natural law, these are very peculiar words for Him to speak.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus left no doubt about the relationship between His ministry and the law of God. He tells His people not to even think that He came to do away with the law (Matt. 5:17). In verse 18, our Lord teaches that the smallest detail of the law will remain in effect until heaven and earth pass away. Jesus warns in vs. 19 that anyone who annuls the least of the commandments and teaches others to do so will be least in the Kingdom. His words read, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
In John 14:15,21 and 23 Jesus defines love in terms of obedience to God's law. According to our Lord, the mark of a true disciple is obedience to His law. There is absolutely no evidence that Jesus is referring to anything but the Mosaic law. The New Testament had not yet been written! There is nothing to suggest that Jesus measures man's love for Him according to some subjective natural law. "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
Jesus taught the continuing validity of not only the Ten Commandments in general, but He also taught the penal sanctions of the case laws to be valid as well. Antinomians pretend to be horrified at the theonomic position which calls for the death penalty for incorrigible delinquents. The theonomic position is often caricatured as calling for the execution of young children. Deut. 21:18-21 adds much needed light to this perfectly just law. The child in question is old enough to be a drunken profligate. He is taken by his own parents to the political elders of the city where he is tried. If found guilty by the civil magistrates he is put to death by the civil magistrates. Theonomic opponents believe this to be the "soft underbelly" of the Biblical law view yet Jesus upholds this law in Matthew 15:4, saying," For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death." In context, Jesus is condemning the Pharisees for transgressing God's law for the sake of their traditions. Jesus Christ, by His own words, upholds the very point on which many criticize the theonomic ethic!
This is the same Jesus who taught that His yoke is easy and His burden light. God's law is meant to be a blessing not a burden. What the antinomian must recognize is that when he condemns theonomists for being unjust, he is actually accusing God of being unjust. Biblical law advocates did not dream up these penal sanctions, they come from the Supreme Sovereign of the Universe, the God of perfect justice!
Certainly there is much work to be done to determine exactly how to apply Biblical law to a modem world. There is some disagreement even among those of us who identify with the Reconstuctionist position. The principle which binds us, however, is that we all believe the whole Bible, Old and New Testament, must be the source of ethics for the human institutions which God has ordained for man's good. This is the system of ethics which is derived from the lips of our Lord.
As the three major human institutions continue to decay under the oppression of natural law, the wisdom of reinstituting Biblical law in every area of life becomes more and more apparent (and necessary). God is completely just and holy. His law is therefore just. To believe that God's law is somehow too harsh for our "enlightened" age is to deny the teachings of Christ as well as to question the justice of an Almighty and immutable God!
The serious Bible student must study these passages and conscientiously compare them to the hapax legomenon of Revelation 20. Revelation 20 is the only passage in the Bible which speaks of a 1000 year reign of Christ. That passage, however, says nothing about Christ being physically present on the earth for His millennial reign. Revelation 20 teaches that the millennium coincides with the time of Satan's binding. Jesus Himself gives us an infallible interpretation of "And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years" (Rev. 20:2). In Matt. 12:28,29 He says: "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house."
In the context of this statement, the Pharisees were accusing Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan. Jesus pointed out the reductio ad absurdum of their accusation by showing that Satan's kingdom cannot stand if Satan is divided against himself. Jesus proclaimed that Satan's kingdom is crumbling, not because Satan is divided but because the Son of Man has come and bound the strong man and is carrying off his possessions. As Jesus cast out demons, He was freeing men from Satan's bondage. When Jesus brings a sinner to Himself, He is carrying off a possession that once belonged to the strong man (the devil) by transforming that sinner from Satan's kingdom into the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Col. 1:13).
Who has not seen, especially in the South, road signs and newspaper advertisements for churches which boast of being "fundamental, premillennial and pretribulational." In a more theologically astute age, the tables were turned. R.L. Dabney in his Lectures in Systematic Theology (in chapter LXX on the Resurrection) referred to preadventism (premillennialism) as "heterodox." The Westminster Confession of Faith is certainly antichilian if not overtly postmillennial (cf. WCF chapter 23; WLC question 102).
It is interesting to note that exorcism is the only miracle that Jesus performed in His earthly ministry that no Old Testament saint could perform. Old Testament saints raised the dead and fed the hungry but could not cast out demons. The reason for this is because before the advent of Jesus, this world was very much Satan's kingdom. In His earthly ministry, Jesus bound Satan and began the process of rooting out the devil's kingdom as He established the Kingdom of God. Satan is still powerful and believers must watch for him but he has been bound by the power of Christ and has no more ability to deceive the nations. Because of Christ's work of binding Satan, the power of the gospel is free to bring the nations to Christ. Christ's work of exorcism was proof of the inauguration of His kingdom. His binding of Satan is the theological foundation of the Great Commission. Citizens of Christ's Kingdom will have success in bringing the nations under the discipline of God's law precisely because Satan, who once deceived the nations, can no longer do so.
"In Revelation Twenty it is stated definitely what is meant by the binding of Satan. We are not left in doubt. Verse 3 reveals that the binding is in reference to the deceiving of the nations. Previous to the first coming of Christ, the Gentile nations were under the complete control and dominance of Satan. All nations were pagan and without true religion. But with the coming of Christ this was all to change. Nations were not to be deceived entirely. This does not mean that individuals within nations or even a great portion of them would not be deceived. But during the period of the binding of Satan the nations would not be entirely deceived as were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia Greece and Rome. Never until that short period just before the second coming of Christ would the nations be deceived as they were before the first coming of Christ. To that end Satan was bound.It is clear from Matt. 12 and the other passages cited above that Jesus established His kingdom at His first advent. Why then, does Revelation 20 teach that the millennial kingdom will last only 1000 years when according to my interpretation, the millennial kingdom of Christ is already close to 2000 years old? In the Scriptures, the number 10 signifies quantitative perfection. The number 1000 is 10 cubed (10X10X10). Isaiah 6 teaches that God is three times holy (Isa. 6:3). When the seraphim cried out to one another that God is "holy, holy, holy" they were acknowledging God to be perfectly holy. We can deduce, therefore, that the perfect number ten, when trebled, yields a number signifying perfection. Christ's millennial kingdom (the time between the first and second advent of Christ) will last an indeterminate, but perfect, amount of time.
"However, some people feel that if Satan were bound he would have no influence in the world and upon individuals. That this is not the significance of the binding of Satan is seen from a study of Jude 6. There we read that the fallen angels were bound with chains. Yet that did not prevent their activity in the world. That passage declares: 'And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgement of the great day.' The Gospels reveal the activities of these fallen angels. Therefore to be chained does not mean cessation of evil activity. Even so Satan though bound, continues his evil work. But he is definitely restrained as to the sphere of his activity. He is bound by the decree of God. He cannot deceive the nations as he did previous to the coming of Christ." J. Marcellus Kik, An Eschatology of Victory, (Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed Publ. Co., 1971), p. 194.
The next question pertains to the earthly success of this kingdom. Will the kingdom Christ established be successful in history? Will the promised Seed of Abraham really be a blessing to the nations? Will Christians experience success in carrying out Christ's commission to bring the nations under the discipline of God's law?
The answers to these questions constitute the only significant difference between the amillennial and the postmillennial positions. In reality, amillennialism is only a type of pessimistic postmillennialism. The amillennialist does not believe that the world as a whole will be discipled. They believe a few from every tribe and nation will be saved, but do not believe that the power of the gospel will result in a "golden age" in history.
I believe Jesus had a very optimistic view of the success of the Kingdom He established. He bound Satan. The Evil One can no longer deceive the nations as he did before Jesus came, for "the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." The gospel of Jesus Christ is a powerful double-edged sword. As He gave the Great Commission, Jesus said that all authority in heaven and earth had been given to Him and He promised to be with His people always (Mt.28:18-20).
The victory of Christ's kingdom can be clearly seen in His three parables of the kingdom found in Matt. 13. The parable of the wheat and the tares is instructive: "The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field." Jesus said that the kingdom of God is like a wheat field. Even though there are also tares in the field at harvest time, it must be remembered that it is a wheat field, not a tare field. Those who hold to various brands of "pessimillennialism" seem to teach that the Kingdom is a tare field with a few wheat stalks scattered here and there.
Matt. 13:30-31 records the parable of the mustard seed: "The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed..." Jesus goes on to make His point that although the mustard seed is tiny, it grows into a very large bush. The Church of Jesus Christ started out small — 11 frightened men. Now there are millions of Christians all over the world. The Kingdom will grow larger still, as God's people are faithful to water and fertilize it and as God is pleased to pour out His Spirit upon His Church giving the increase.
Finally, in verse 33, Jesus said that the kingdom is like leaven. The kingdom is not like dough adulterated by evil leaven, it is like leaven. Leaven gradually permeates the whole lump of dough. What could Jesus be teaching except that the Kingdom will gradually penetrate the whole world?
Still not convinced? My favorite proof text for an optimistic view of history is a well known scripture verse. Although well known, few seem to understand it's significance. This verse is Matthew 16:18, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The context is Peter's confession of Jesus as Messiah. Jesus says that He will build His church on that truth. Jesus also says that the gates of Hell will not prevail against that Church as it stands upon that foundation.
Many Christians are so conditioned to a pessimistic view of history that they automatically reverse that passage to read "Hell will not prevail against the gates of the Church." That's not what it says, folks! The Church is not to withdraw within her walls and take pride in the fact that she can withstand the continuing siege of the forces of darkness until Jesus comes back and raptures her out of her predicament. No! Christ is commanding His church to get out and take the offensive and storm the gates of Hell and knock over the devil's strongholds. Christians therefore have a duty to take their principles to the marketplace and make inroads in the world for the kingdom of Jesus Christ. He has promised that the gates of Hell are no match for His loyal troops.
I leave you with one more teaching from the lips of our Lord, proving that Jesus taught the success of His gospel in bringing the whole world under the discipline of God's law. In Matt. 22:44 Jesus quotes Ps. 110:1, "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.'" One clear fact of the New Testament is that Jesus went to the right hand of the Father at His ascension. (Heb. 1:3). Jesus will stay there until all His enemies are under His feet. There will be no rapture of a defeated Church. Jesus will come for His bride only after He has destroyed the enemies of God through His bride, the Church.
Sorry Hal, Satan may be alive for now, but he is not well on planet earth. He is being crushed by the power of God under the feet of the Church (Rom. 16:20).
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I grant the fact that evidence for the veracity of Scripture and the claims of Christ are everywhere (Rom. 1:18ff). However, because of the noetic effects of sin, corrupt man suppresses such evidence. Even if one could prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus rose from the dead and that the Bible is the word of God, this would not convince one more person to be saved, for salvation is of God's grace, not the will of man (John 1:13). It is the accurate preaching of the whole counsel of God which God employs in the salvation of souls. In His "defense of the faith," Jesus never sparred with the Romans by setting up an elaborate system of theistic proofs. Nor did He attempt to overwhelm the Sadducees with empirical evidence of the supernatural aspects of Scripture. Jesus "presupposed" the existence of the God of the universe revealed in Scripture, how could He have done otherwise, being Himself "God with us" (Matt. 1:23).
In the forty days of being tempted by Satan, Jesus knew that His best weapon against the Evil One was the self-authenticating Word of God. Three times Jesus countered the devil's temptation with "It is written..."
Not only did Jesus "presuppose" the truth of God's Word, He took it at face value. Jesus accepted as historical fact the events that modem rationalistic theologians relegate to the categories of "myth" or "saga". For example, Jesus taught the Genesis account of creation (Matt. 19:4) as an historical event. He taught the story of Jonah as an actual event and did not even hint of a possibility that Jonah's amazing experience was apocryphal or solely symbolic (Matt. 12:38-41). Our Lord also affirmed the historicity of Noah and the flood (Matt. 24:37-39). Jesus assumed the truth of Scripture, using even details of these "difficult" passages to illustrate aspects of His work. For example, Jesus used the historicity of the story of Jonah to illustrate that He would remain under the darkness of death for a time but would rise again on the third day (Matt. 12:40-41).
A distinctive mark of dispensationalism which distinguishes it from covenant theology is its disjointed view of Scripture. Since each dispensation represents different ways in which God deals with man, logically there can be little applicability of Scripture from previous dispensations to New Covenant believers.
While this may be the view of Scofield and Chafer, this is not the view of Jesus Christ. Jesus believed in the unity of Scripture and He applied all of God's words in His teachings. Jesus said that the Scriptures cannot be broken (John 10:35). In a nutshell, this is the fundamental difference between covenant theology and dispensationalism. Dispensationalists break Scripture into discreet units; consistent covenant theologians do not.
To discuss in detail the fact that Jesus taught from all portions of the Old Testament, establishing their continued applicability, would exceed the bounds of this essay (The reader is encouraged to note the extent to which our Lord used the Old Testament). Not only did Jesus teach from all portions of the Old Testament, His whole life and work was captive to Scripture. Matthew continually notes that the life and teaching of Jesus was in fulfillment of prophecy.
Jesus taught that His life and work was the fulfillment and the substance of all the Old Covenant shadows. For example, in that great passage in Matt. 16 following Peter's confession of Jesus as the Christ of God, Jesus responds in terms of the provisions of the Abrahamic covenant. Jesus says that the gates of Hell cannot prevail against His church as she stands upon the rock of Messiah (vs. 18). The perceptive Bible student is immediately cognizant of the fact that Jesus' words are very similar to the words of God's promise to Abraham in Gen. 22:17. "That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies." God's promise to Abraham was that his seed shall possess the gates of his enemies. In stark contrast to the pietistic retreat from society by many dispensationalists, Christ commands His servants to storm the gates of Hell. Jesus guarantees His Church success if she stands on the Rock.
A thorough discussion of how the Church of the 20th century lost her world and life view is another subject. Suffice it to say that because of the loss of a correct understanding of optimistic Covenant Theology, the Church of the 20th century has worked hard for defeat — and she has received what she worked for.
Christ's well known (but little understood) Great Commission is given in terms of the Abrahamic Covenant. The fundamental provision of the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 12 is that it is through Abraham's seed that all the nations of the world are to be blessed. In the Great Commission of Matt. 28, Jesus tells His disciples that because all power has been given to Him, His Church is to go out in all the world and bring the nations under the discipline of God's law.
As the Church becomes faithful in preaching the gospel in all the world, entire nations will be blessed as they are brought under the whole counsel of God.11
Jesus also set the stage for another characteristic of Covenant Theology: infant baptism. Although Jesus never taught infant baptism as a polemic, He did tell His disciples in Matt. 19:14 not to prevent the children from coming to Him because "the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Since the Church makes up the citizenship of the Kingdom established by Christ and since children received the sign of circumcision as the sign of entry into the commonwealth of Israel, it is highly illogical to believe that Jesus' work established a new order in which covenant children were excluded from the visible church structure. In addition to this, Jesus' audience had the background of centuries of Jewish history. They would have been horrified at the thought of their children being left out of God's covenant and not entitled to the bestowal of the covenant sign. I have deep respect for many of my Baptist brethren, I was one myself, but the fact remains that in the Baptist view, children of believers are trapped in some kind of limbo between the Church and the world until they make a verbal profession of Christ. They are not members of the visible Church but neither are they total pagans.
Finally, Jesus' establishment of the New Covenant showed that He knew nothing of a dispensational view of the covenant. In Matt. 26:26-28 as Jesus ate the Passover meal with His disciples, He stated that His blood and body constituted the true passover. Jesus was not establishing something radically new, He was establishing Himself as the fulfillment of all the Old Covenant shadows. Jesus did not abrogate the Old Testament passover but rather fulfilled it. Old Testament Saints celebrated passover once a year through the bloody sacrifice of a lamb. New Covenant believers are to celebrate passover often through the bloodless elements of wine and bread. Jesus' whole life, work and ministry was very much captive to God's covenant.
- See the excellent article: "The Greatness of the Great Commission" in Still Waters Revival Books upcoming book by Ken Gentry, Light for the World: Studies in Reformed Thought..
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
A. Total Depravity (Total Inability)
B. Unconditional Election
C. Limited (Definite) Atonement
D. Irresistible (Efficacious) Grace
E. Perseverance of the Saints
A. TOTAL DEPRAVITY (TOTAL INABILITY)
Total depravity is the scriptural teaching that man is so affected by the fall that he is totally unable to do any spiritual good and it is therefore impossible for him to do anything on his own to contribute to his salvation. Unregenerate man is spiritually and covenantally dead and cannot understand spiritual truth. He, therefore, has no capacity to choose God.
Jesus clearly shows that He taught the doctrine of total inability. In Matt. 13:11-17, He explains to His disciples the reason why He taught in parables. He tells them that they had been granted the ability to know the mysteries of the kingdom, but to others it had not been granted. Jesus was teaching that fallen man does not naturally have the ability to understand His truth. Our Lord says such ability is a gift from God. Jesus expands upon the depraved and deceitful heart of man in Matt. 15:19 "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies."
While explaining the nature of the new birth to Nicodemus in John 3, Jesus tells the learned Jewish teacher that one cannot enter the kingdom of God unless born from above. The analogy of salvation as a new birth is significant. Not one of us had the ability to choose the tune and place of our birth, our race, or any other genetic characteristics. A baby does not choose to be born by the act of his will. The baby is not able to do so. So it is with the new birth.
In John 6:44, Jesus speaks of mankind's total inability to come to Him outside of the Father's drawing grace. "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." Fallen man cannot change his own nature (and consequent spiritual inability) any more than the leopard can change his spots (Jer. 13:23), thus the impossibility of the sinner choosing God outside of the prior regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. In light of these statements it should be more than abundantly clear that the Son of Man taught the doctrine of man's total inability.
B. UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION
Our Lord Jesus not only taught the doctrine of election as an axiom, He also made reference to the doctrine as a presupposition. In Matthew 24, where Jesus describes the Great Tribulation — which in context clearly is a reference to an event in the first century — we are taught in verse 22, that for the sake of the elect, those days will be cut short. By definition, "elect" refers to someone who is chosen by another, not someone who chooses himself.
Jesus also taught election in precept. He says in John 5:21 that He gives life to "whom He will". John 6:37 records our Lord telling the multitudes that those who come to Him are given by the Father," All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Election is also illustrated in the choosing of the twelve. Jesus tells them in John 15:16 that they did not choose Him but that they were chosen by Him. Matt. 11:27," All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."; John 3:8, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit" and John 6:37-66 are also clear statements from the lips of our Lord teaching the doctrine of election.
If words have meaning, Jesus taught the doctrine of election. There is nothing in the words of our Lord to even suggest the possibility of the Arminian distortion of the doctrine which holds that election is somehow conditioned on the free actions of men. The John 6 passage is especially refreshing in a day when there is so much pressure to tickle itching ears. "And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him." (John 6:65,66). Jesus was not afraid to boldly proclaim the doctrine of election, even if it meant losing followers.
C. LIMITED (DEFINITE) ATONEMENT
Perhaps the most emotional disagreement between Calvinists and Arminians is over the extent of the atonement. The question before us is simply this: For whom did Christ die? The vast majority of evangelical Christians might respond like this: "The answer is easy: Christ died for everybody." This answer would most likely be accompanied with the obligatory John 3:16 proof text. I agree that the answer is easy, but the common evangelical response is wrong. It is wrong according to none other than our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
The Arminian view of universal atonement implies that it would somehow be unfair if Christ did not die for everybody. If, however, Christ did shed His precious blood for everyone, a logical question follows: why is not everyone saved? The common response to this question is that unbelief prevents the salvation of sinners for whom Christ died and shed His precious blood. If this is so, I am compelled to point out the Arminian's predicament. Is not unbelief a sin? If Christ died for all the sins of all men then everyone will be in heaven. If He died for some of the sins of all men, then no one will be in heaven. Those are the twin horns of the Arminian dilemma. Besides, if Jesus died a death which made redemption an hypothetical possibility for everyone, then it actually secured salvation for no one. There is no comfort in a propitiation9 that does not propitiate or in a redemption that does not redeem. Calvinists limit the extent of Christ's atonement but Arminians limit the power of it.
Logical arguments aside, what does Jesus teach about the extent of His atonement? Our Lord clearly limits His atonement in His statement in Matt. 20:28 when He describes the purpose of His coming: to give His life as a ransom for many. "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." The great passage in John 10 is perhaps the clearest on this question. In vv. 11 and 15, Jesus says that He lays down His life for the sheep. Verses 26 and 27 define sheep as those who believe and follow Christ. Jesus is therefore teaching that He died only for those who believe in Him. In other words, Jesus died for the elect only.
Christ's high priestly prayer in John 17 is also instructive. Jesus did not pray for the world (vs. 9). In vs. 20, Jesus says that he is praying for "those who believe in Me." Jesus was praying on behalf of God's elect as their High Priest. Jesus, however, was not only the High Priest, He was also the sacrifice. As High Priest, Jesus is not going to pray only for the elect while offering Himself as sacrifice for every individual who ever lived. That is similar to believing Israel's High Priests offered sacrifice for Egypt and Assyria on the Day of Atonement. No, the priests offered God a sacrifice for the sins of Israel alone.
Christ's life, work, and teaching clearly demonstrate that He died for His people (Spiritual Israel) and them alone.10
D. IRRESISTIBLE (EFFICACIOUS) GRACE
Irresistible grace is the doctrine which maintains that a sinner has no capacity to refuse the special grace of God in bringing that sinner to salvation. Do the gospels reveal that Jesus taught such a doctrine?
Jesus taught that God's electing grace ultimately cannot be refused by a stubborn sinner. Man, dead in his trespasses and sins, cannot choose God. Conversely, a man who has been given redemptive grace cannot refuse such grace. In John 6:44, Jesus says that no one can come to Him unless the Father draws him. The Greek verb employed here can literally be translated "drag". God's electing grace is irresistible. If God loved an individual before the foundation of the world, if Christ shed His redemptive blood for that sinner, He will not allow that person to perish. He will "drag" that sinner to salvation by the power of His gospel.
The familiar John 3 passage is also illustrative of irresistible grace. In His conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus compares salvation to a new birth. It is obvious that a human child, when the fullness of time comes, cannot refuse to be born! The mother's body rather forcefully expels the child. The child is not consulted. Should we expect spiritual birth to be different? If we examine our conversion, did God beg us to come out of the womb of sin or did the power of God expel us out of the darkness and into His kingdom of light via the new birth? Jesus has given us the answer.
E. PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS
The five points of Calvinism are inseparably linked. If God loved us from eternity past and Christ shed His precious blood for us, it stands to reason that we are eternally secure. Did Jesus teach the doctrine of eternal security? Jesus did, in fact, teach it.
What kind of life does Jesus grant believers? Jesus repeatedly says that He grants believers eternal life (John. 3:16: 3:36; 6:47). Though so incredibly simple, many Christians miss the significance of this argument. Why would Jesus call it "eternal" life if there was a possibility of losing it?
If the reader is still not convinced, consider again John 10. Jesus says that those (the sheep) for whom He died, shall never perish and that no one can snatch them out of His hand (vs. 28). There is no more secure place than in the hand of Christ. If you believe in Christ, you are one of His sheep. If you are one of His sheep, you will never perish because the Good Shepherd has laid down His life for you and bestowed upon you the gift of eternal life. You are secure in His loving hand!
- See Fred DiLella's article on propitiation, in the Christian Observer December 15, 1989 (p. 18), for a concise explanation of this important Biblical doctrine.
- Cf. Talbot and Crampton, Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism, (Edmonton, AB: Still Waters Revival Books,1990), chapter 5.
There is a battle raging today between historic Reformed Christianity, which emphasizes the importance of a world and life view based upon the Bible, and dispensational pietism, which rejects a vast portion of God's Word by declaring it inapplicable to the New Covenant Church. The influence of dispensationalism has led to a truncated view of Christianity. This rejection of the whole law of God, the adoption of a pessimistic eschatology, and a lack of understanding of God's covenant purposes in history has led to a withdrawal of Christianity from the marketplace of ideas which govern a civilization. This vacuum created in our society by the withdrawal of Christian principles of government has given us widespread abortion, pornography, drug abuse, divorce, oppressive taxation, and other social ills which continue to plague our land.
Although "Christian Reconstructionism" is growing in popularity, it is being attacked from many angles. Several recent dispensational writers have associated "Dominion Theology" and "Christian Reconstruction" with New Age humanism.1 One recent dispensational work labels "Dominion Theology" as a "curse".2 Hal Lindsey, perhaps the most popular and well known dispensational writer, recklessly charges Reconstructionism with having "anti-semitic" tendencies.3
Such irrational attacks might be expected from the dispensational camp. Sadly, however, some of the most vehement opponents of Reconstructionist thought come from within ostensibly Reformed denominations. This opposition is unfortunate in that it unwittingly contradicts the confessional standards these opponents have taken solemn vows before God to uphold.4 It is apparent that the ubiquity of dispensational thought in this century has affected the thinking of men who in many respects exhibit good scholarship and sound theology.
Incredibly, one of the objections to Christian Reconstructionism from both the dispensational and the semi-reformed camps is the charge that reconstructionism is a "new" theology.5 Christian Reconstruction is not new, it is simply a return to the classic Reformed theology that characterized the writings of Calvin, the Puritans, and Presbyterian theologians of the nineteenth century. The consistent application of this theology transformed Calvin's Geneva and Puritan New England into truly Christian cultures. Christian Reconstruction is nothing more than the application of the whole of the Bible to the whole of life. Rather than being a new theology, it is actually an attempt to go back to the "old" theology believed, taught, and practiced in the Southern Presbyterian Church as recently as the late 1800's by men such as Major Robert L. Dabney.6 Reconstructionism only seems new because of the theological shift caused by the rise of dispensational ideas that have taken place this century.7
As in any theological dispute, it ultimately does not matter who does hold (or has held) to a position, what matters is the teaching of Holy Scripture. Even this question is more complex than it seems because of the dispensational presupposition that certain parts of the Bible are not applicable to the Church. One does not need the whole Bible to prove that God's Word teaches the doctrines that have come to be known as "Christian Reconstructionism". Two books, Matthew and John, will be more than sufficient to prove the point. In fact, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself demonstrate that He taught the doctrinal complex now known as the "Five Points of Christian Reconstructionism." (If there be any dispensationalists reading this who believe that the words of Jesus are not applicable to believers today, you have my sympathy, for Jesus Christ is truth personified [John 14:6]).
The five points of Christian Reconstructionism are generally considered to be:
- Calvinistic Soteriology. (i.e. The five points of Calvinism).
- Covenant Theology
- Presuppositional Apologetics
- Theonomic Ethics
The Lord Jesus Christ, the infinite God/Man, the Word of God incarnate, who is the ultimate source of all Scripture, taught the doctrines that make up the five points of Christian Reconstruction. This brief booklet does not pretend to be exhaustive or technical. An exhaustive and technical treatment of all the pertinent passages in Matthew and John would require a lengthy volume. It is, however, thorough enough to prove the point. I plead with critics of Christian Reconstruction to carefully consider the teachings of our Lord. I humbly plead with my brothers who oppose Christian Reconstruction but who claim to be Reformed theologians to carefully study their heritage as well as the arguments presented herein. I submit, even if I cannot convince you of the reconstrutionist position, that vitriolic attacks against reconstructionists (who are your brothers in the faith) are much misguided. I am grieved when so many who claim the Reformed faith tolerate Arminian, Dispensational, and Charismatic theology, yet viciously attack reconstructionists and sometimes even do everything in their power to deny them entry into presbyteries.8
*Published by Still Waters Revival Books, 12810-126 St. Edmonton, AB. Canada T5L 0Y1. Printed in Canada, March, 1990. — ISBN 0-921148-09-7.© 1990 Mark Duncan.
- See DeMar and Leithart, The Reduction of Christianity: A Biblical Response to Dave Hunt, (Ft Worth, Texas: Dominion Press, 1988).
- H. Wayne House and Thomas Ice, Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? (Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1988) Whatever may be said of this work, one thing is certain: the authors do not consider "Dominion Theology" to be a blessing. For a cogent reply to Dominion Theology: Blessing or Curse? see Bahnsen and Gentry, House Divided: The Breakup of Dispensational Theology, Dominion Press, 1989.
- Mr. Lindsey's latest book, The Road to Holocaust carries the subtitle: "Unchecked, the Dominion Theology movement among Christians could lead us — and Israel — into disaster..." See Schlissel and Brown, On Hal Lindsey and the Restoration of the Jews, (Edmonton, AB:Still Waters Revival Books, forthcoming, 1990) for a reply to Hal Lindsey.
- The reader is encouraged to study The Westminster Larger Catechism questions pertaining to the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer. Many of the Scripture proofs in the "sins to avoid" and "duties required" are taken from the Old Testament case laws. The answer to question 191 pertaining to the second petition of the Lord's Prayer sounds very "Reconstructionist."
- Dominion: A Dangerous New Theology, Tape #1 of Dominion and the New World Order. Distributed by the Omega Letter, ON Canada, 1987. Op. Cit. Reduction, p.138.
- Dabney was a major in the Confederate army, serving as Stonewall Jackson's Chief of Staff for a time. For his theological views, consult his excellent work: Lectures in Systematic Theology.
- For a detailed treatment of this subject see Douglas Frank, Less Than Conquerors: How Evangelicals Entered the 20th Century, Eerdman's, 1989.
- Even though the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America has repeatedly ruled in favor of admitting "theonomists," individual Presbyteries continue to hinder admission of Reconstructionists. A close friend and I experienced such opposition in 1989.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
On the left side are pacifists and anti-war activists. On the right side are those who want a strong military that intervenes around the world. You scored: 0.43
Where are you in the culture war? On the liberal side, or the conservative side? This scale may apply more to the US than other countries. You scored: 4.82
Monday, June 1, 2009
A great project for these cold Winter days, might need a LPG heater out in the big shed though!
Welcome To The Official Planet Whizbang Web Site
This site gives you simple plans for making your own awesome wheel hoe for way less money than what it would cost to buy a comparable new one. All the how-to information is here (with lots of great pictures). You don't need to be a metalworker to build a deluxe wheel hoe. Anybone Can Build a Planet Whizbang Wheel Hoe. I'll show you how...
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
"...[T]he true God is the God of Scripture, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the God who blesses and curses. And He shall prevail, “the same yesterday,
today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). The real question is not as to whether God is
alive or dead, but rather, it concerns ourselves. Where do we stand in terms of
His word, law, grace, and calling? Under blessings, or curses?"
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The difference between a quack doctor and a good one begins with a sense ofChalcedon Medical Report #7
limitation. A quack medicine and a quack doctor both promise too much. A sound
medicine offers limited help for a limited and specific problem. It offers no
miracles and works none. it cannot replace good hygenie, sound nutrition and
healthy habits. The wise doctor makes no large promises; he knows how limited
his role is and yet, within those limits, very important. The more we demand of
a doctor or of a medicine, the more likely we are to fall prey to quackery.
Friday, May 8, 2009
“Puha and Pākehā”, recorded by Rod Derrett recorded in 1965
I don’t give a hangi for the Treaty of Waitangi,
You can’t get fat on that – give me some Puha and Pakeha.
You take a little umu and you get it very hot,
You catch a little Pakeha and put him in a pot,
Cook him all up in your old home brew,
And what have you got? Kiwi Stew.
Link to lyrics 1 only a portion of the lyrics but some people need to lighten up and the BSA agrees!
Link to lyrics 2 anyone studying NZ History might like some more detail.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
®eal Life is impinging on my ability to sit at a computer and blog at present, not sure when that will change as there are some significant changes in the wind both on a personal level and also on a National level.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
|English Lyrics||Maori Lyrics||Maori Lyrics Translated|
God of nations! at Thy feet
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our Free Land.
Guard Pacific's triple star,
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand
E Ihowa Atua,
O nga iwi matou ra
Me aroha noa
Kia hua ko te pai;
Kia tau to atawhai;
O Lord, God,
Of all people
Listen to us,
May good flourish,
May your blessings flow
Men of ev'ry creed and race
Gather here before Thy face,
Asking Thee to bless this place,
God defend our Free Land.
From dissension, envy, hate,
And corruption guard our State,
Make our country good and great,
God defend New Zealand.
Ona mano tangata
Kiri whero, kiri ma,
Iwi Maori Pakeha,
Nei ka tono ko nga he
Mau e whakaahu ke,
Kia ora marire
Let all people,
Red skin, white skin
Gather before you
May all our wrongs, we pray,
So that we might say long live
Peace, not war, shall be our boast,
But, should foes assail our coast,
Make us then a mighty host,
God defend our Free Land.
Lord of battles in thy might,
Put our enemies to flight,
Let our cause be just and right,
God defend New Zealand.
Tona mana kia tü!
Tona kaha kia ü;
Tona rongo hei pakü
Ki te ao katoa
Aua rawa nga whawhai
Nga tutü a tata mai;
Kia tupu nui ai
May it be forever prestigious,
May it go from strength to strength,
May its fam spread far and wide,
Let not strife
Nor dissention ensue,
May it ever be great
Let our love for Thee increase,
May Thy blessings never cease,
Give us plenty, give us peace,
God defend our Free Land.
From dishonour and from shame
Guard our country's spotless name
Crown her with immortal fame,
God defend New Zealand.
Waiho tona takiwa
Ko te ao marama;
Kia whiti tona ra
Ko te hae me te ngangau
Meinga kia kore kau;
Waiho i te rongo mau
Let its territory
Be ever enlightened
Throughout the land
Let envy and dissension
Let peace reign
May our mountains ever be
Freedom's ramparts on the sea,
Make us faithful unto Thee,
God defend our Free Land.
Guide her in the nations' van,
Preaching love and truth to man,
Working out Thy Glorious plan,
God defend New Zealand.
Tona pai me toitü
Tika rawa, ponu pü;
Tona noho, tana tü;
Iwi no Ihowa.
Kaua mona whakama;
Kia hau te ingoa;
Kia tü hei tauira;
Let its good features endure,
Let righteousness and honesty prevail
Among the people of God
Let it never be ashamed,
But rather, let its name be known
Thereby becoming the model to emulate
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Premillennial dispensational eschatology is committed to portraying the world as inherently incurable and in moral decline. Only the following series of eschatologically inevitable events can reverse this decline: the (somehow) secret Rapture, followed by the Great Tribulation against the State of Israel, followed by the return of Christ to set up an international Christian bureaucracy.
More than this: all evidence of moral decline had been harnessed for decades to prove the inevitability of the fastapproaching Rapture of the saints to heaven. The archetype — the literary model — was Hal Lindey's best-selling book, The Late, Great Planet Earth (1970). Gary North
It is told to us over and over in books and movies like "The Late, Great Planet Earth", "A Distant Thunder" and "Left Behind" series. They foster an unbiblical mindset in the Christian community. Christians are no longer building the Kingdom of God, but they are digging fox holes trying to hold out 'until Jesus comes.'
Although there are some hopeful exceptions, generally there are no long-term Christian movements for establishing mercy institutions Christians once were famous for; institutions such as hospitals, universities, cathedrals with their ministries of mercy to immigrants, indigents, recovery centers for prostitutes, Christian schools, with an historically Christian and orthodoxically Biblical view of the world and of the future. We now slap a Band-Aid on something and call it a ministry thinking we really are doing a work for God. There is no longer an unabashed, decidedly Christian nurturing of leaders, spokesmen, researchers, poets, historians, educators, pastors and preachers, and medical practitioners, etc., as there were in previous generations of Christians. Mostly we are content to think in terms of street-witnessing for the next 3 or 4 years since we are afraid that is all the time we have left. Most Rapture-enthusiasts have a hard time trying to finish 4 years of college.
When we finally wake up after 10, 20, 30, 40 years, and Jesus hasn't raptured us out of this evil world of Satan's rule, and we haven't gotten married and/or had children, because "who wants to bring kids into this world when they might miss the rapture and go through the Great Tribulation"; after years of this,...we find that we have wasted many opportunities for blessings, and we have failed to build a godly legacy for the generations to come.
Let us return to the Bible and rebuild our definitions of Family, Church and State according to the principles and precepts outlined therein. No more of the pragmatism/"she'll be right" attidtude that has gotten us into this mess.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Here us the quote in full:
"Hier sta ik, ik kan niet anders... " translated as: "Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise..."
"Unless I am convicted by scripture and plain reason - I do not accept
the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other -
my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant
anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me.
As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa's biggest problem - the crushing passivity of the people's mindset
Before Christmas I returned, after 45 years, to the country that as a boy I knew as Nyasaland. Today it's Malawi, and The Times Christmas Appeal includes a small British charity working there. Pump Aid helps rural communities to install a simple pump, letting people keep their village wells sealed and clean. I went to see this work.
It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities. But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I've been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I've been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.
Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.
I used to avoid this truth by applauding - as you can - the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It's a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith.
* British missionaries plead guilty to sedition in Gambia
* Soulgasms of the Christian Right
* Have Pentecostalism, will travel
* PROFILE: warlord who kills in name of Christ
But this doesn't fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.
First, then, the observation. We had friends who were missionaries, and as a child I stayed often with them; I also stayed, alone with my little brother, in a traditional rural African village. In the city we had working for us Africans who had converted and were strong believers. The Christians were always different. Far from having cowed or confined its converts, their faith appeared to have liberated and relaxed them. There was a liveliness, a curiosity, an engagement with the world - a directness in their dealings with others - that seemed to be missing in traditional African life. They stood tall.
At 24, travelling by land across the continent reinforced this impression. From Algiers to Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Central African Republic, then right through the Congo to Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya, four student friends and I drove our old Land Rover to Nairobi.
We slept under the stars, so it was important as we reached the more populated and lawless parts of the sub-Sahara that every day we find somewhere safe by nightfall. Often near a mission.
Whenever we entered a territory worked by missionaries, we had to acknowledge that something changed in the faces of the people we passed and spoke to: something in their eyes, the way they approached you direct, man-to-man, without looking down or away. They had not become more deferential towards strangers - in some ways less so - but more open.
This time in Malawi it was the same. I met no missionaries. You do not encounter missionaries in the lobbies of expensive hotels discussing development strategy documents, as you do with the big NGOs. But instead I noticed that a handful of the most impressive African members of the Pump Aid team (largely from Zimbabwe) were, privately, strong Christians. “Privately” because the charity is entirely secular and I never heard any of its team so much as mention religion while working in the villages. But I picked up the Christian references in our conversations. One, I saw, was studying a devotional textbook in the car. One, on Sunday, went off to church at dawn for a two-hour service.
It would suit me to believe that their honesty, diligence and optimism in their work was unconnected with personal faith. Their work was secular, but surely affected by what they were. What they were was, in turn, influenced by a conception of man's place in the Universe that Christianity had taught.
There's long been a fashion among Western academic sociologists for placing tribal value systems within a ring fence, beyond critiques founded in our own culture: “theirs” and therefore best for “them”; authentic and of intrinsically equal worth to ours.
I don't follow this. I observe that tribal belief is no more peaceable than ours; and that it suppresses individuality. People think collectively; first in terms of the community, extended family and tribe. This rural-traditional mindset feeds into the “big man” and gangster politics of the African city: the exaggerated respect for a swaggering leader, and the (literal) inability to understand the whole idea of loyal opposition.
Anxiety - fear of evil spirits, of ancestors, of nature and the wild, of a tribal hierarchy, of quite everyday things - strikes deep into the whole structure of rural African thought. Every man has his place and, call it fear or respect, a great weight grinds down the individual spirit, stunting curiosity. People won't take the initiative, won't take things into their own hands or on their own shoulders.
How can I, as someone with a foot in both camps, explain? When the philosophical tourist moves from one world view to another he finds - at the very moment of passing into the new - that he loses the language to describe the landscape to the old. But let me try an example: the answer given by Sir Edmund Hillary to the question: Why climb the mountain? “Because it's there,” he said.
To the rural African mind, this is an explanation of why one would not climb the mountain. It's... well, there. Just there. Why interfere? Nothing to be done about it, or with it. Hillary's further explanation - that nobody else had climbed it - would stand as a second reason for passivity.
Christianity, post-Reformation and post-Luther, with its teaching of a direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God, unmediated by the collective, and unsubordinate to any other human being, smashes straight through the philosphical/spiritual framework I've just described. It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates.
Those who want Africa to walk tall amid 21st-century global competition must not kid themselves that providing the material means or even the knowhow that accompanies what we call development will make the change. A whole belief system must first be supplanted.
And I'm afraid it has to be supplanted by another. Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete.
Monday, April 6, 2009
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. Isaiah 2:4Warfare proceeds from the heart of man according to James 4:1. It is sin, and the sinful pursuits of men, that spurs the national conflicts in world history. Whereas God intended an agrarian-based society, tyrants converted that productivity into the tools of war. Although 2,700 years have passed since Isaiah penned his prophecy, this manipulation by the oligarchy remains the central strategy of elitist dominion. Orwell's 1984 suggests this very thing:
The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of doublethink, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the machine without raising the general standard of living...Modern warfare is reliant upon technology, and technology is consumed by the incessant war project; and the war project is central to maintaining the dominion of sinful man. This is why modern man relishes in his technological achievements -- they are the primary evidence of man's developing omniscience. In this sense, there are many similarities to the nature of God and the divine attributes that oligarchs seek for themselves:
The problem was how to keep the wheels of industry turning without increasing the real wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but they must not be distributed. And in practice the only way of achieving this was by continuous warfare...
The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed...
In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population.
God is omnipotent (all-powerful), and man seeks this power through imperialism.
God is omniscient (all-knowing), and man seeks this through technology.
God is benevolent, and man seeks this through socialistic control of the economy.
God is sovereign, and man seeks predestinarian control through central planning.
In addition, the growing surveillance society of Big Brother is also a feeble attempt at matching a god-like ability to monitor every man:
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. Proverbs 15:3Restraining Technology
God surveys what man has done and is doing (Gen. 11:5). The people are one in this new world order; their language is one and now they are creating a world government to play god over mankind (v.6). With such a power over mankind, "nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do" (v.6). Total power will mean total government and control. When men play god, they primarily seek to dominate other men. They then turn science and knowledge into strategies of control in every sphere of life and thought. (R.J. Rushdoony, Commentaries on the Pentateuch: Genesis, p.110)The Tower of Babel was the original manifestation of a unified statist system. The sin of their hearts became the "sin made flesh" when they said, "let us build." They would use the technology given by God to replace the throne of God in history. Yet, babylonian man was viciously humbled in a surprising counter move by Almighty God. He assaulted their highest technology--the one technology they could not manipulate: He confounded their language.
The result, according to Gen. 11:8, was the scattering abroad of man and "the leaving off to build the city." God frustrated the project of man by restraining his technology. While man had the physical means (tools and materials) to build the city, he could not succeed without the God-controlled element of speech. This basic technology trumped all other technologies.
Agrarianism and Technology
Technology is inescapable. It's apparent in the simplest and most complex of systems. Technology is not a cell phone or a television. Technology is an invisible attribute hidden in the mind of God that He transfers to man in history:
When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually?God instructs man by His sovereign illumination. The error is when man assumes that he has "discovered" a technology. He hasn't. "God instructs him and teaches him the right way" (v.26). This idea presupposes an ethical restraint upon man and his technological pursuits. There is only so far God will allow man to go. However, we must also restrain ourselves so as to avoid aimless inventions that merely facilitate slothfulness, indulgence, and war.
Does he keep on breaking up and harrowing the soil?
When he has leveled the surface,
does he not sow caraway and scatter cummin?
Does he not plant wheat in its place,
barley in its plot,
and spelt in its field?
His God instructs him
and teaches him the right way.
Caraway is not threshed with a sledge,
nor is a cartwheel rolled over cummin;
caraway is beaten out with a rod,
and cummin with a stick.
Grain must be ground to make bread;
so one does not go on threshing it forever.
Though he drives the wheels of his threshing cart over it,
his horses do not grind it.
All this also comes from the LORD Almighty,
wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom.
I find it interesting that when Isaiah prophesied (chapter 2) of the glorious kingdom he described it in terms of a repentance in technology: swords are made into plowshares, and spears are converted into pruninghooks. Converted hearts lead to converted technology. This is ably demonstrated by the present emphasis upon agrarianism. The movement is emblematic of a righteous "restraint" upon the abuses of technology and the sin it inspires. All to say, the fulfilled kingdom may appear more Amish than the steel and stone of Huxley's Brave New World.
The same has often been said about hunting -- old-school rocker Ted Nugent is one of the most outspoken advocates of this idea. Christians are rediscovering a lost world, by discarding much of the plastic society and the cultural control grid of corporate advertising. By removing their children from public schools, and by disengaging from certain social tentacles, today's Christian can better taste the potency of God's creation.
The issue here is not isolationism -- far from it. It is a counter-revolution to an exclusively institutional and industrial existence. It is a self-imposed restraint upon the use of certain technology, and the adoption of older technology that is pure and God-sanctioned.
The new Tower of Babel is a vast system contrived and built by humanistic man, and is intended to have dominion over every area of life. We, as modern Christians, are plugged into this system. We should always be looking for ways to "unplug" so as to circumvent its control in our lives. Educating our children is the first step. Removing ourselves from the neo-babylonian churches is next. These mega-wonders of institutional worship are drenched in technology, and serve as faithful ambassadors of the state.
I find other movements, such as agrarianism, as helpful to the cause of Christ. I also see a helpful trend within the family-based churches, despite the shrills of patriarchy. My goodness, so long as sinful people are involved any system can be abused! But centering on the family helps to de-tox Christians from their slavish adherence to institutions. We can only rejoice then as faithful Christians work to decentralize a one-world order. Bureaucracy is a great opponent to the expedient application of Biblical law.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Let me introduce you to my best friend (BFF) - Windows Home Server - it does what servers do best - looks after all your data, whether it is on one computer or several. It becomes a central repository for backups, shared documents/photos/videos/etc. Each home cmoputer that connects to the home server is fully backed up every night, the server itself can be backed up to an external USB hdd. Running low on disk space - add a USB hdd and add it to the storage pool and windows home server will ensure your data is stored in multiple locations, just in case of failure! It will take your dog for a walk... not yet but one day...
Having been involved with servers since before Windows NT 4.0, this add-on to Windows 2003 server is the best thing to hit the home computer user ever! note - if you are/were a server admin you will need to un-learn some habits but once you get used to the admin console it is great!
The best part about it is the remote access - from anywhere in the world I can access my home server admin console or any home computer running XP Pro or Vista Business/Ultimate using remote desktop - it is very easy to configure and once setup it just works.
Now where did I leave my rotary hoe? That's right I don't have one, well out with the garden fork and spade this weekend it is. I love the smell of freshly tilled soil early in the morning.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I don't know how the industrial era will collapse, only that it will. My guess is that a worldwide economic crisis will be a major part of the story. It is only fitting since industrialism in all its many forms is rooted in greed and the love of money.Considering the book is published in 2006, it is becoming apparent that he was correct with his guess and we have only seen the ramifications within the USA, just wait until it flows throughout the EU! I believe we are at the beginning of the end of the modern industrial era, how this will impact on your life will depend on where you place your trust. I place my trust in the God of the Bible, as Herrick says:
Only God knows how the demise of the industrial era will be played out. That's because He is sovereign, He knows the beginning from the end. He directs the events of history for His own purposes, primary of which is to bring glory to Himself.Sola dei Gloria.
The Conficker worm has been a hot topic for months as white hats and black hats have struggled to one-up each other. When security teams broke the randomization cypher Conficker uses and were able to predict which websites the program would target and when, Conficker.B retaliated. That version of the malware used a new encryption cypher to hide its target list (this was broken as well), and was cabable of spreading from infected to non-infected systems over office networks, shared folders, or even USB keys.Show's over folks, move along, bring on 2999.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
The world is moving into the greatest economic crisis of history. It is a religious crisis, the product of man’s efforts to play god and to control all things. For humanistic man, freedom is anathema, because it runs counter to scientific planning and control. The growing crisis is thus a religious one, and we must see it as God’s judgment on a false and rival order. The crisis must be seen as good news, as evidence that God is at war, that the wages of sin in any sphere are always death, and that every tower of Babel man erects has a common destiny, disaster and confusion. The Lord is at work; let the people rejoice.
R. J. Rushdoony
Roots of Reconstruction