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Friday, January 20, 2017

50 crazy laws, 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.

Trump-ettes

Like 44 presidents before him, Donald Trump has been elected as President of the United States under the rules of the Constitution. The people elected electors, who elected Trump, whose votes were certified by the Congress. He is the legitimate POTUS regardless of who says otherwise and whether you or I like it. He will be inaugurated today, regardless of all the flap, boycotting and backlash concerning it. The most odious expression to me is the many who are not satisfied to boycott Trump's inauguration -- they must also bully those who have chosen not to do so. Let and let live, I say.

Anyway, thought these "Trump-ettes" might be interesting to some readers:

Thursday, January 19, 2017

You can't legislate morality

How many times have you heard it? How many times have you agreed?

"You can't legislate morality" is a misunderstanding and myth which the majority of people in the U.S. seem to have bought into. It is a misunderstanding and miscalculation on the part of some, in that they propose that laws can't actually make or keep people moral (which is true). It is a myth and misrepresentation on the part of others in that they discourage and oppose laws they do not like, based on their so-called "universal truth" that "you can't legislate morality". 

The fact is that laws by their very nature declare some behavior right and the opposite behavior wrong. Therefore, law in its nature and purpose correlates to the definition of morality. Morality is "a particular system of values and principles of conduct, the distinction between right and wrong." What happens in practice is not whether we legislate morality -- it is a question of whose morality we legislate! All laws are designed to encourage and discourage certain behaviour by citizens. They include penalties for citizens who do not accept/follow those behaviours. The government and law isn't neutral on issues like murder, theft, assault and rape -- they take a moral stand. Most everyone wants that kind of morality legislated! When law is enforced and crime is punished -- a manner of morality has been legislated.

"You can't legislate morality" has a modicum of truth with an  elephantine edifice of error erected upon it. The shaky foundation cannot support the weight. Let it fall.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Difficult reading?

Here are a few thoughts on reading the Bible, evoked by readers who feel that the King James Bible is difficult to read and therefore use something else.
  • On the one hand are the mischief-makers. These generally disrespect the King James Bible and may often claim it is written in another language we cannot understand. The radical KJV-onlyists no doubt incite some of this behaviour, but intelligent folks should not make such false claims, regardless of the reason. (Interestingly, some of these who claim to be unable to read 1611 KJV would have us know they are reading the Bible in Greek and Hebrew!) Of course, the type and fonts are different from modern type -- see this facsimile (in a reduced size) of the Bible published in 1611 -- but it is not unreadable to anyone of average intelligence.
  • On the other hand are the considerate. These generally respect the King James Bible and make amicable concessions about it while still deferring to some other version on the ground that the KJV is harder to read and harder to understand than modern translations. They sometimes are like those who treat the elderly with respect, while assuming they have nothing to learn from them.
To the mischief-makers I say: If you are so dull that you cannot read a 1611 English Bible (difficult though it might be), I cannot respect your intelligence to make any other claims at all about this or any other Bibles.

To the considerate I say:
  1. Overcome the difficulty and read it anyway. Any serious Bible translation has some things that are difficult from the standpoint of English language (though some obviously more so), as well difficult from the point of human understanding. It is worth the effort.
  2. Embrace the difference you see and hear. Even though I am a committed KJV user, I listen every morning on KHCB radio to Max McLean's "Listen to the Bible" (NIV). The differences I hear catch my attention and make me think more deeply. The differences you find in the KJV will get your attention.
  3. Savor the distinction of the singular and plural pronouns. Our modern English has lost the distinction of "you" and "you" and the KJV affords the Bible reader the best opportunity to discover it as we read the Bible. Many may discover this distinction when studying, but often miss it while reading.

Side note: What are the reading levels of the Bibles on Bible Gateway? and Mardel Book Store Bible Translation Guide are two attempts at defining the reading level difficulty of various Bible translations.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Clear-cut political suicide

“It would be political suicide to give that speech,” said an aide to his boss.

“He’s right, Senator,” chimed in another aide, “It’s just one clear-cut statement after another.”

(Morrie Brickman, in the Reader’s Digest, April, 1983)

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Roman Road to Salvation

What is the Roman Road (or Romans Road) to salvation? According to GotQuestions.org, “The Romans Road to salvation is a way of explaining the good news of salvation using verses from the Book of Romans.” This is a popular method used by Christian witnesses to “lead the lost down the Romans Road map to salvation.” The method is a basic presentation using, usually, six or seven texts from the book of Romans.

The “Roman Road” verses, as often presented:
  • We are all sinners (Romans 3:10,23).
  • The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
  • Jesus paid for sin on the cross (Rom. 5:8).
  • Salvation comes by faith, confessing with our mouths and believing in our hearts (Romans 10:9,10).
  • Call on the Lord/pray for salvation and get saved (Romans 10:13).
I recently noticed someone call attention to the fact that this “Roman Road” method was created and coined by Fundamental Baptist pastor Jack Hyles. In his June 1970 sermon There Remaineth Yet Very Much Land to Be Possessed Hyles recalls it this way:
“By the way, you folks who don’t come on Wednesday night don’t know this, but about twenty-two years ago, in a little East Texas Church, I came up with a little plan of presenting the plan of salvation called ‘The Roman Road’ whereby you take Verses contained in Romans and show people how to be saved using Romans 3:10, and Romans 3:23, and Romans 5:12, and Romans 5:8, and on and on. I termed it, ‘The Roman Road,’ and from the ‘Roman Road’ I wrote the little book, Let’s Go Soul Winning. Over one hundred and thirty-five thousand copies of that book have been printed. It has been translated into several foreign languages: Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, French, and others, and has literally gone around the world.”
He further stated, “Just before he left Japan and retired, Douglas MacArthur got a copy of the ‘Roman Road to Salvation’ that we started in 1948 or 1949 in East Texas…”

I have searched and as yet have not found any reason to doubt Jack Hyles’s claim that he came up with the “Roman Road” plan of presenting the plan of salvation. As best I can determine, Hyles must have been attending East Texas Baptist University in Marshall and pastoring Grange Hall Baptist Church at the time this happened.* It also appears accurate that he based the plan in his book Let’s Go Soul Winning on “The Roman Road”. Here is part of what he writes:
I contend that you can be a soul winner if you don’t know a single verse of Scripture, if you can draw a map in your Bible to tell yourself where to go. All you need do is find Romans 3:10 and you won’t have to know a single verse of Scripture. Right beside Romans 3:10, write the next verse to tell you where to go in your Bible. Actually what you do is draw yourself a little road map in your Bible to explain where to go next.
First, turn to Romans 3:10. That is all you have to remember. Underline the verse. Beside it write 3:23. After you have read Romans 3:10, it tells you where to go next. Now turn to Romans 3:23. Underline that verse and beside that write 5:12. Turn to 5:12 and underline 5:12 and write beside it 6:23. Underline 6:23 and beside it write 5:8. Underline 5:8 and write beside it 10:9-13.  Now that is a map for you. You don’t have to know a single verse of Scripture to be a soul winner if you draw a map in your Bible. You follow the map until you learn the Scriptures. Of course, as you go along, you will learn many other Scriptures that will help, but these are the basic ones.
Let’s Go Soul Winning: Step-By-Step Lessons in How to Win a Soul to Christ by Jack Hyles (First Printing: April, 1962; First Electronic Printing: May, 1994)
All the verses used in the “Roman Road” are Bible truths. The tactics used by certain soul-winners when presenting the “Roman Road” are unethical at best and fiendish at worst. Nevertheless, I thought it interesting to find this tidbit of history concerning the beginning of “The Roman Road to Salvation.” If anyone knows of this method and name occurring before Jack Hyles, I would be glad to know of it.

* Note: Jack Hyles’s pastorates in East Texas were Marris Chapel Baptist Church (aka Morris Chapel) of Bogata, Texas, Grange Hall Baptist Church in Marshall, Texas, and Southside Baptist Church of Henderson, Texas. The latter two still exist as Southern Baptist churches. I am not sure about the first. From what I found online, 1949 seems to be about the time he was at Grange Hall.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

An unguarded strength, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify if possible.)

"An unguarded strength is a dual weakness." -- Oswald Chambers ("Unguarded strength is actually a double weakness, because that is where the least likely temptations will be effective in sapping strength." From My Utmost For His Highest)

"Hollywood actors and star singers seem to be filled with an inflated sense of their own importance that leads them to opine on the liberal causes they champion." -- Dave Miller

"A perpetual learner is the best teacher." -- Fred Smith, Sr.

"It isn't fair...the caterpillar does all the work, and the butterfly gets all the glory." -- George Carlin (George, you whiner, you)

"You either get better or you get worse — you don’t stay the same." -- Peyton Manning

"The preacher should be with his time as the miser is with his gold—saving it with care, and spending it with caution." -- “An old writer” (unidentified)

"This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilisations which disregard it." -- G. K. Chesterton

"Some people can brighten up a room simply by leaving it!" -- copied

"Do you sometimes feel like you missed plan A for your life. Perhaps you feel you are on plan F or G. I say, Praise God for a big alphabet and press on!" -- George Verwer

"Your walk talks, and your talk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks." -- credited to Bob Jones, Sr., and others

"If [Southern] “elected leaders should proportionally reflect the constituents they represent,” then we should have about 75% or more of our leaders that have NO idea what they really believe and and a great percentage who are not even saved. Now that is REALITY and that should be the focus of our prayers and efforts!" -- Written by a Southern Baptist using the initials H.B.

“The only consistent arminian is an open theist.” -- James R. White

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Viewed by the eye of faith

"Viewed by the eye of faith, blessings in providence come down from heaven steeped in mercy. And yet how short, oh, how infinitely short do these temporal blessings, which perish in the using, fall of spiritual blessings, which endure for evermore! A striking proof of this is that when we are privileged to draw near to a throne of grace with some measure of faith and feeling, the heart’s desire is wholly towards spiritual blessings; and the eye of the soul is so wholly and solely fixed upon them, that there is scarcely left place either in the heart or lips to ask for any other." -- J. C. Philpot