Thursday, June 30, 2016

Some online books, Baptist flavor

Some books and writings that I have located online:

A little thing, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources.

"And in this he showed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand...In this little thing I saw three properties; the first is that God made it; the second is that God loves it; and the third is that God keeps it." -- Julian of Norwich

"When God closes a door in your life, get your face out of the way. It won't hurt so badly." -- Sherry Rose Shepherd

"You can summarize the gospel in four words: Jesus in my place." -- J. D. Greear

“If the Kings people be obedient and true subjects, obeying all humane lawes made by the King, our Lord the King can require no more: for men’s religion to God is betwixt God and themselves; the King shall not answer for it, neither may the King be judge between God and man.” — Thomas Helwys, 1612

"When an organization gets too large, it gets to a point where it cannot get out of its own way." -- D. Morgan

"We are not regenerated because we have been baptized...but we are baptized because we have been regenerated by faith and the Word of God (I Pet. 1:23). Regeneration is not the result of baptism, but baptism the result of regeneration." -- Menno Simons

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Why one man fought the Civil War

The Sniper Who Slayed More Than 100 Union Soldiers -- "...sometimes a man simply fights because of personal loss — and the need for bloodstained revenge."

In his book Jack Hinson’s One-Man War: A Civil War Sniper, Tom McKenney describes Hinson as "a Southerner at heart," but one who "was firmly against secession and war." The brutal death of his sons changed all that. Two of Hinson’s sons "were caught with rifles by a Union patrol while hunting squirrels, they were executed on suspicion of guerrilla activity, their decapitated heads delivered to Bubbling Springs, the Hinson plantation, and mounted on gateposts. That was the day that 57-year-old Hinson’s neutrality came to an end." Hinson freed his slaves, collected his rifle, and waged his own war against the Union -- beginning with "the lieutenant responsible for killing his sons" and the soldier who put his sons' heads on his gateposts.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Free State of Jones

Monday, June 27, 2016

Customs of Primitive Churches, Washing feet

The following is excerpted from Customs of Primitive Churches by Morgan Edwards (Philadelphia, PA: 1768, p. 93), Thanks to Chris Hanna of Hudsonville, Michigan for providing me a pdf version of Customs of Primitive Churches, Or, A Set of Propositions Relative to the Name, Materials, Constitution, Power, Officers, Ordinances, Rites, Business, Worship, Discipline, Government, &c. of a Church.

XXXII. Washing feet is a rite of divine original and perpetual obligation. The ends of it are, to oblige christians to be beneficently condescending one to another; and to signify to them a cleaning from the sins they are liable to after baptism. The performer of the rite is any christian. The place is, at home. The time, once a year, at least. The attendants of the rite are, supper or love feast etc. The requisites are, water, bason, towel, and a form of words expressive of the ends of the rite.

1. That washing feet, considered as a christian rite, is of divine original, appears from John xiii. 1-[17] where we have an account of its institution.
2. That it is of perpetual obligation appears (1) From the command which Christ grounds on his example; and the blessedness he pronounceth to the observers Joh. xiii. 15, 17. (2) From the practice of the first christians 1 Tim. v. 17. (3) From the ends proposed by it, which always abide.
3. The ends of the rite are, (1) To inculcate to christians a beneficent humility, condescension and love; and to condemn the contrary. So Christ explains the matter. John xiii. 10, 16. (2) To be a sign to the party washed of his cleansing from sing. It signifies a washing, without which we can have no part in Christ Jesus, v. 8, and a washing consequent upon some other of like signification, viz. baptism. Acts xxii. 16; our baptism signifies a washing from sin committed before it. 2 Pet 1. 9. Some of those sins may be repeated; or if they be not, there is no man that liveth and sinneth not; yet baptism is not to be repeated; opportunely therefore doth this rite frequently come in to encourage hope of a cleansing from sins committed after baptism.
4. The performer of the rite is, any christian, even a female. 1 Tim. v. 10.
5. For the time allotted for this rite we have no rule, except take either example or convenience for rules. If the former, we have the example of Christ; who celebrated it two days before he suffered, compare Joh. xiii. 1 with Mat xxvi. 2, which day was the first of April, for he died the third. This rule will make it an annual thing only. But expediency requires it should be observed oftener, as the first christians most probably did. 1 Tim. v. 10.
6. An example of the manner in which it has been performed occurs under prop. xxxi.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Bluegrass Pioneer, and other music links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

The end of things, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources.

"The end of things is always the first in intention, though it be last in execution." -- Tobias Crisp

"Be among the spices and you will smell of them." -- Thomas Watson

"The reason [Calvinism] is not a problem for my friend and me is twofold. First, we BOTH accept the fact that the other is saved. In the course of a good, friendly but lively exchange, I asked him a question that is very pertinent: ”Do you think I am saved?” He answered, “Absolutely.” Then I said, “Well, I think you are saved also.” What follows is simple common sense. If he thinks I (a non-Calvinist) am saved, and I think that he (a Calvinist) is saved then salvation is not the issue. Instead, the core issue is one’s theological model and methodology." -- William F. Harrell

"People can pick up skills relatively quickly, but character isn’t something you just pick up. Character is often forged over a long period of time and over multiple experiences, and it only changes with great and sustained effort. It can and does change, but it’s much harder to change your character than it is to learn skills." -- Craig Hamilton

"If a person cannot argue the issue he will usually try to argue the semantics. If he is too ignorant to argue the semantics he will usually try to argue personality." -- Elbert Hubbard

"There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly becomes any of us
To talk about the rest of us." -- Attributed to Edward Wallis Hoch, but according to The Yale Book of Quotations by Fred R. Shapiro (p. 362) it was disclaimed by Hoch in a letter in 1916. It's earliest instance is found in The (Marion, KS) Record, when Hoch was editor

“Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. The liberty I contend for is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest to grant indulgence, whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians.” — John Leland, 1790

"When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser." -- most often attributed to Socrates, online research finds it apparently doesn't have a history before the 21st century

"All the Confederate Flags in the world are not worth one soul of any race." -- James Merritt

"While 'What would Jesus do?' kind of rhetoric makes good for a spiritual novel, I'm unsure it actually assists us all that well for making moral decisions in real life. The fact is, Jesus continually did and said the unpredictable in the gospel narratives often surprising His closest comrades." -- Peter Lumpkins

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A humble man can come to no harm

"A humble man can come to no harm; he will be ever-trusting in the Lord because he finds nothing in himself to trust in, while he gives great glory to God by trusting much in Him. God gives him great grace, and this is to keep alive an abiding sense of what he is in himself; to show him his ignorance and helplessness, to open him daily more of the mystery of iniquity, to discover to him the stirrings of corruption which others feel not, and to make him sensible of these, even in duties and ordinances, that he may loath himself and his very best works. These are the fruits of true grace, and he that is under the teachings of the Holy Spirit will abound in them. The more God does in the heart, the more He humbles it. The great design of His grace is to bring the proud sinner low, and then to keep him low." -- William Romaine

Friday, June 24, 2016

Muslims, Southern Baptists, Religious Liberty and Spiritual Adultery

Sometimes, some Baptists get out of kilter on religious liberty. Not all Baptists are in as much agreement as some might think we are. A motion and a question at the June 2016 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention highlight that fact.

Leading up to the Convention, Christian Index Editor Gerald Harris asked Do Muslims Really Qualify for Religious Freedom Benefits? -- illustrating a prominent SBC leader opposing full religious liberty for Muslims. At the Convention on Tuesday, June 14, 2016 an Arkansas pastor moved “that all Southern Baptist officials or officers who support the rights of Muslims to build Islamic mosques in the United States be immediately removed from their position within the Southern Baptist Convention.” (The motion was ruled out of order as exceeding the authority of the messengers.) Then on Wednesday morning, during the question-and-answer segment of the report of the Ethics and  Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC (ERLC), the same pastor asked ERLC President Russell Moore: “I would like to know how in the world someone within the Southern Baptist Convention can support the defending of rights for Muslims to construct mosques in the United States when these people threaten our very way of existence as Christians and Americans. They are murdering Christians, beheading Christians, imprisoning Christians all over the world. Do you actually believe that if Jesus Christ were here today that He would support this and that He would stand up and say, ‘Well, let us protect the rights of those Baal worshipers to erect temples to Baal?’ Do you believe that Dr. Moore?”

Moore replied, “What it means to be a Baptist is to support soul freedom for everybody. Brothers and sisters, when you have a government that says 'we can decide whether or not a house of worship can be constructed based upon the theological beliefs of that house of worship,' then there are going to be Southern Baptist churches in San Francisco and New York and throughout this country who are not going to be able to build...” Following up in the Arkansas Baptist News on Monday, June 20th Pastor John Wofford complained that this is a 'spiritual issue' -- an issue of unequally yoking together with unbelievers and bidding them God speed -- and that Moore did not answer his question.

Let's back up a moment and see Wofford's issue with Moore and the ERLC (and the IMB of the SBC. [1] On May 11, 2016 the ERLC and IMB with 16 other groups filed an Amici Curiae in Support of Plaintiffs in The Islamic Society of Basking Ridge v. Township of Bernards.[2] This was in support of a suit in a religious land use case. The planning board of Bernards Township, New Jersey denied the building of a mosque, ostensibly in a way they would not or had not denied other religious groups. The thrust of the brief of the 18 parties was that “A Muslim mosque cannot be subjected to a different land-use approval process than a Christian church simply because local protesters oppose the mosque.”

Religious liberty
The situation in New Jersey is broadly a First Amendment case, but specifically The Islamic Society lawsuit accused the planning board of Bernards Township with violating 42 U.S. Code § 2000cc - Protection of land use as religious exercise. This law was passed by Congress unanimously in 2000. It protects all houses of worship from undue burden by land use regulations. I agree with the law and the thrust of the brief. The law affords for a Muslim mosque the same rights as a Christian Church, Jewish Synagogue or other religious body. The planning board of Bernards Township would need to show their decision “is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest” and “is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.” From what I have read about the case, the planning board did not show compelling governmental interest and rather made the decision based on their feelings about Muslims and terrorism. If I were on the planning board of Bernards Township, I would decide the law allowed the Islamic Society to build a mosque.[3] They should not have an undue burden different for them from other religious groups. That much seems clear-cut to me, and easy to come down on the side of religious liberty as an American citizen. The state should preserve religious liberty for all, equally.

Spiritual adultery
Now for a Christian (at least some Christians) the “spiritual issue” is where the waters get muddy. In his explanation of his question, Pastor Wofford cited such verses as “Thou shalt have no other gods before the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind and with all thy strength....Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve...have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to reprove no unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” He mentions that the apostle John warned us that “if someone comes to us who does not bring the doctrine of Christ, we are not to bid him 'God speed'.” I don't know how far I can go in agreeing with Pastor Wofford, but many have misunderstood his main point and have not directly addressed it: “Would Jesus Christ stand in a court of law, defending the rights of a false religion to erect mosques, temples or other places of worship which are clearly in violation of the First and Second Commandments of God?”

Religious liberty v. Spiritual adultery
As I see it, Pastor Wofford is not discussing what the planning board of Bernards Township should do, but rather what his denomination should do. He is a Southern Baptist. The ERLC is commissioned and supported by Southern Baptists. Is their aligning with false religions in support of a false religion a case of spiritual adultery that violates the Christian's separation from unbelievers and direction to serve God only?

As Christians we should faithfully teach and firmly practice that Jesus is the only name under heaven whereby men must be saved. That cautions in choosing with whom to be involved in various endeavors, and whether those endeavors might compromise our faith and practice. Does filing a brief in a case of undue burden regarding land use and zoning regulations yoke us with unbelievers? Certainly the names of the ERLC and IMB stand equally beside the Interfaith Coalition on Mosques, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Sikh Coalition, and Unitarian Universalists. But does this yoke them with unbelievers? Not necessarily. Does it support “another gospel”? It cannot be refuted that the mosque will teach, proclaim and promote another religion, another guide book and another form of salvation than Jesus Christ as the way, the truth and the life.

The government should/must recognize the same kind of religious rights for Muslims as everyone else. I support them being treated equally, but I would not go on a personal crusade to help them build mosques. If the Jehovah's Witnesses set up a bake sale to raise money for their Kingdom Hall, I support their freedom to do so — but I won’t be buying any of their bread.

“All external things including life and limb are subjected to external authority. But no one may coerce of compel true faith in Christ, for it is concerned not with temporal but eternal life.” — Pilgram Marpeck, 1531

“...Christ hath not commanded any king, bishop, or minister to persecute the people for difference of judgment in matters of religion...the king and parliament may please to permit all sorts of Christians; yea, Jews, Turks, and pagans, so long as they are peaceable, and no malefactors, as is above mentioned; which, if they be found to be, under two or three witnesses, let them be punished...persecution for religion is to force the conscience; and to force and constrain men and women's consciences to a religion against their wills, is to tyrannize over the soul, as well as over the body...persecution for difference in religion is a monstrous and cruel beast...No king nor bishop can, or is able to command faith; That is the gift of God, who worketh in us both the will and the deed of his own good pleasure.” — Leonard Busher, 1614

“This spiritual administration of Christ's power is in and over the spirits and consciences of man. It extends to all the inward and hidden motions and acting of the mind. It also extends to all the outward manifestations of its powerful commands in the outward man, in reference unto God, and especially unto such as pertains to the visible worship and service of God. God has declared Himself to be a spirit, and will be worshipped in spirit and in truth, and seeks such, and only such, to worship him.

“This spiritual administration, as it is concerned with the outward man, is to managed not by a sword of steel which cannot come near or touch the spirit or mind of man, but by the sword that proceeds out of the mouth of his servants, the word of truth. This is especially so as to the efficacy, and to the inward man, by the two edge sword of the spirit. But that spiritual law and light by which these candle are enlightened, by Himself, Who is that light that lights every man who comes into the world.” — John Clarke, 1652

“Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. The liberty I contend for is more than toleration. The very idea of toleration is despicable; it supposes that some have a pre-eminence above the rest to grant indulgence, whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans and Christians.” — John Leland, 1790

[1] Some might question whether this is in the purview of their Mission Statement -- “The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission exists to assist the churches by helping them understand the moral demands of the gospel, apply Christian principles to moral and social problems and questions of public policy, and to promote religious liberty in cooperation with the churches and other Southern Baptist entities.”
[2] The 18 groups named on the brief are: American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Center for Islam and Religious Freedom, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Interfaith Coalition on Mosques, International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Muslim Bar Association of New York, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, National Association of Evangelicals, New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association, Queens Federation of Churches, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Sikh Coalition, South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey, South Asian Bar Association of New York, and Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of New Jersey.
[3] From the viewpoint of a New Jersey pastor and former president of the Baptist Convention of New York, the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge was not treated differently than Christian churches. He told Baptist Press that the mosque “received the same treatment from our local planning boards that many of our churches do...I have seen how difficult it can be for area churches to receive building and expansion permits from the local planning board. A few years back I sadly watched as a local Baptist church attempted to relocate within our township only to be voted down by the planning board. The church spent hundreds of thousands of dollars only to be told that their site plan did not, and probably would never, meet all the requirements. Local residents raised even more money to defeat them...The same scenario played out for the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, Inc...The majority of residents in Bernards Township seem dead set against any [emp. mine, rlv] new religious facility being built in their backyards.” This does not prove that the planning board did not violate Congress's Religious Land Use Act, but suggests that they did not act differently toward Muslims than they have acted toward any other religious group.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Case Studies, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

A link for accordion lovers

quick, take the accordion!