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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 in (brief) review

Links to a few of the 300-something posts this past year:

A Baker's Dozen
What say ye?
To respect
New book, available in July
A tree's story
Every Church a Seminary
Restoring Integrity in Baptist Churches: a Review
Restoring Integrity: our view of God
Latin, Greek and Hebrew
The troubles of Job
The Holy Kiss
The Relationship of Christians and Government
Proorizo in the King James Bible
My word shall not return void

Time, with an unwearied hand,
Pushes round the seasons past,
And in life's frail glass, the sand
Sinks apace, not long to last:
Many, well as you or I,
Who last year assembled thus;
In their silent graves now lie,
Graves will open soon for us!

By John Newton

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tending towards innovation?

I first heard the word "McDonaldization" several years ago when my son mentioned in some context I don't remember. Something he was reading or studying in college, I think.

"McDonaldization" is a term used by sociologist George Ritzer in his book The McDonaldization of Society (1995). He describes it as the process by which a society takes on the characteristics of a fast-food restaurant...Predictability – standardized and uniform services. "Predictability" means that no matter where a person goes, they will receive the same service and receive the same product every time when interacting with the McDonaldized organization. This also applies to the workers in those organizations. Their task are highly repetitive, highly routine, and predictable...The predictability of such places is also ensured; the customer can assume that the quality, taste, price, quickness, and variety will remain the same in every single restaurant in a chain. The ways in which the food is prepared, the products used to make the meals, and the amount of a product one is given are universal...
McDonaldization

While predictability and standardization have certain advantages in certain contexts, are we moving toward a society where all things should be predictable and standardized and all people should think the same things? McDonaldization means that no customers of McDonalds (or any McDonaldized should expect anything else than standard fare. It also means that McDonaldized employees should not show any tendency towards innovation or taking initiative.

At times we must overcome McDonalization -- and tend towards innovation and initiative.

This made me think of story (probably apocryphal) that I posted last year. An elderly couple went to breakfast at a restaurant where the "Seniors' Special" was two eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast for $1.99. The husband ordered the special but his wife did not want the eggs. The problem was -- without the eggs, she would not be having the special, so the waitress was going to charge $2.49 cents for ordering a la carte. When the customer found out the waitress was serious, she ordered the special. "How do you want your eggs?" the waitress asked. "Raw and in the shell," the woman replied. She took the two eggs home.

Or how about the college student who couldn't get a grilled chicken salad at the college cafe. She ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with extra lettuce. She saved the buns for her dog, cut up the chicken and voila -- grilled chicken salad!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Church history...

"Church history is, like all other history, an account of what somebody sees, and the account becomes at most a conscientious interpretation. In spite of all effort, the historian must write as he sees with the facts which are at his command." -- Buell H Kazee in The Problem of Baptism in History, 1965, p. 97

Sunday, December 28, 2008

84 percent

An interesting tidbit -- Associated Press says that Gallup polls from 1994 to 2005 show that 84 percent of non-Christians say they celebrate Christmas.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the famous English preacher of the last century, wrote, "We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas ... we find no scriptural word whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Saviour; and consequently, its observance is a superstition, because (it's) not of divine authority ..." (Quoted from Metropolitan Pulpit Series, Pilgrim Publications: Pasadena, Texas, 1871, p. 1026).

From
Should Christians Celebrate Christmas?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sovereign Ruler of the skies

Sovereign Ruler of the skies,
Ever gracious, ever wise,
All my times are in thy hand,
All events at thy command:

Times of sickness, times of health,
Times of penury and wealth;
Times of trial and of grief,
Times of triumph and relief.

Plagues and deaths around us fly,
Till He bids we cannot die;
Not a single shaft can hit,
Till the God of love sees fit.”

Sovereign Ruler of the skies,
Ever gracious, ever wise,
All my times are in thy hand,
All of events at thy command.

His decree who formed the earth
Fixed my first and second birth;
Parents, native place, and time
All appointed were by him.

He that formed in the womb,
He shall guide me to the tomb;
All my times shall ever be
Ordered by his wise decree.

Times of sickness, times of health,
Times of penury and wealth;
Times of trial and of grief,
Times of triumph and relief;

Times the tempter’s power to prove,
Times to test the Savior’s love;
All must come, and last, and end
As shall please my heavenly friend.

Plagues and death around me fly;
Till he bids, I cannot die.
Nor a single shaft can hit,
Till the love of God sees fit.

John Ryland (1753-1825),

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Old Baptist quotes (5)

"Our Lord took a towel and girded himself and washed their feet, ay, washed the traitor's feet, and gently handled that heel which had been lifted up against him; washing from it the dust gathered in its secret walk upon the traitor's errand." -- Charles Spurgeon, sermon The Teaching of the Foot-Washing, Oct. 12, 1879

"In the world they criticize: 'Do you see that spot? What a terrible walk that man must have had this morning—-look at his feet! He has been very much in the mire, as you can see, for there are the traces upon him.' That is the world’s way. Christ’s way is very different. He says nothing but takes the basin and begins to wash away the stain." -- Charles Spurgeon, sermon The Teaching of the Foot-Washing, Oct. 12, 1879

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

More on patterns

Thoughts on the subject from three different sources, and from varying perspectives

"Those who embrace the descriptive hermeneutic argue that the church today should observe these descriptive passages for at least three reasons."
1. "Since they are found in Scripture, they must be biblical."
2. "...the Bible is our sole guide in matters of both faith and practice." If we can trust Scripture for what we believe (orthodoxy), we can trust Scripture for what we practice (orthopraxy).
3. "...the early church set a historical precedent for all future congregations. Thus, all we need to know about church ministry is found in the Bible."

From Doing Church: a Biblical Guide for Leading Ministries through Change, Aubrey Malphurs, Kregel Publications (much of this book can be viewed a Google Books), pp. 73-74

On the Baptist Board a few years back, Scott Ransom summarized some class notes he took in a moral theology class. According to him (and the teacher) a few guiding hermeneutical principles for determining the scope of biblical commands were:
a. it is addressed to an enduring audience
b. it is based on a permanent relationship
c. it is repeated, especially transculturally
d. it is supported by prescriptive, and not merely descriptive, passages
e. it is supported without abusing its literary genre
f. it is taught as principle, not merely a manifestation of a principle.


"There are two main points that they made that I found compelling. One is that if you make New Testament patterns descriptive, and therefore non-authoritative, we lose any basis for ecclesiology as a whole. This is because there are very few "positive commands" to us with regard to church practice. Almost all of our theology of church is based upon descriptive passages rather than positive commands. Ecclesiological issues are issues that deal with things like how often we meet, when we meet, what we do when we meet, who may meet, how often we partake of the Lord's Table, who may partake, who the leaders are, that we should even have leaders. They have as their basis New Testament patterns rather than New Testament commands. If we make New Testament patterns optional and descriptive, rather than binding, we are left to pick and choose which patterns we want to hold and which ones we would rather ignore. Is this acceptable? It is if New Testament patterns are descriptive. It is not if they are meant to be prescriptive.

"Paul told Titus to appoint elders in Crete. He told Timothy what elders should be like. He lays down ground rules for how elders should function. But he never actually states in positive command form that all churches must have elders. [or that all elders must meet these standards.]

"even more compelling argument for New Testament patterns being prescriptive rather than descriptive is Paul's use of the word 'traditions.' In the NIV most of the instances where Paul uses this word has been translated 'teachings' but in fact the actual word is traditions (paradosis). II Thessalonians 2:15, is a perfect example of such an instance. In this passage Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to hold to his traditions whether by word of mouth, or letter. In I Corinthians 11:2 Paul praises the Corinthians for holding to his traditions just as he passed them on to them. Later in the passage he rebukes them for altering the directives he passed on to them for how they participated in the Lord's Table. That they had altered these directions in their practice was condemned.

"It seems that Paul not only imprinted the churches he planted with doctrine, but also with a model or example of practice to follow. Paul refers to himself, how he lived, and what he did as a model for churches to follow. Paul praised the church in Thessalonica for imitating the churches in Judea (I Thes. 2:14). The Thessalonians were so faithful in upholding this model that they themselves became a model to other churches (I Thes. 1:7). To the church in Philippi Paul exhorts them to put into practice everything they have learned, received, heard, or seen in him. In other words, if Paul set up the church to meet and operate in a certain way, the churches should not feel they had any right to modify this practice. Instead they strived to uphold the patterns they received, and they were commended for success and rebuked for failure."
-- Maintaining passionate conviction without causing division by Eric Holter, from paragraph "Toward a House Church Theology"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Book review - Materials toward a history

Allen Mickle has written a review of my book Materials Toward a History of Feet Washing Among the Baptists. It is found on his blog Working out Salvation with Fear and Trembling at the above link.

Allen is a PhD student at Leiden University in the area of 18th century Baptist historical theology.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Bible and Baptist Identity

On the blog Between the Times, Nathan Finn has written on The Bible and Baptist Identity. Nathan is a Southern Baptist and writes directly to Southern Baptists, but says a lot of things that are generally applicable to any Baptists who are a people of the book.

"...we must be willing to make the case for our positions from that Scripture rather than our own opinions, popular sentiment, history, the teachings of theologians, or even confessions of faith. To say it another way, we must be a people of the book as we debate our Baptist identity."

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Clark quotes

In a review of God and Evil Darrin R. Brooker wrote, "God and Evil...sets forth the only coherent and consistent answer to the problem [of evil]." Earlier he wrote, "Quite simply, the problem only exists where there is an errant view of the character of God."

"The term will is ambiguous. The Ten Commandments are God's preceptive will. They command men to do this and restrain from that. They say what ought to be done; but they neither state nor cause what is done. God's decretive will, however, as contrasted with his precepts, causes every event. It would be conducive to clarity if the term will were not applied to the precepts. Call the requirements of morality commands, precepts, or laws; and reserve the term will for the divine decree. These are two different things, and what looks like an opposition between them is not a self-contradiction. The Jews ought not to have demanded Christ's crucifixion. It was contrary to the moral law. But God decreed Christ's death from the foundation of the world."

"Free will is not the basis of responsibility. In the first place, and at a more superficial level, the basis of responsibility is knowledge." p. 33 (but also the headship of Adam)

"In the theological literature, free agency -- or natural liberty -- means that the will is not determined by physical or physiological factors. But free agency is not free will. Free will means that there is no determining factor operating on the will, not even God. Free will means that either of two incompatible actions are equally possible. Free agency goes with the view that all choices are inevitable." p. 31

"Free will has been defined as the equal ability, under given circumstances, to choose either of two courses of action." p. 15 "...man faced with incompatible courses of action is as able to choose any one as well as any other."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Little Debbie again

Back in October 2007 I posted on how Little Debbie snack cakes had risen in price from .25¢ to .35¢

Well...

Bank and car company failures are no real indication of the trouble we're in. A lot of that is probably created by the government, unions, and their own ineptitude. But when Little Debbie snack cakes double in cost in little more than a year, we know the economy is in trouble! Yes, that's right. Take notice. You'll be paying .50¢ soon if you're not already.

Mozilla Firefox

Do any of you readers use Mozilla Firefox? If so, do you ever have any problems reading my blog? I have recently tried Firefox, and have noticed some page view issues.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Saints of God preserved by the Grace of God

A few things that convince me that saints of God are preserved by the Grace of God:

1. The Power of God, which is the greatest power (John 10:28,29; I Peter 1:5; Jude 24)
2. The Love of God, which is beyond measure (Rom. 8:28; John 3:16; Eph. 3:18.19)
3. The Immutability of God - He will never change; not His love; not His power; etc. (e.g. Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8)
4. The Sufficiency of the shed Blood of Christ (I John 1:7; Rev. 1:5; John 1:29)
5. The Guarantee (Earnest) of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13,14; 4:30; II Cor. 1:22)
6. The Intercession of Jesus Christ (Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34))
7. The Predestination of God (Eph. 1:11; Rom. 8:29-39)

There is a song I like that always make me think of preservation by the Grace of God -
No Vacant Seats in Heaven by Mrs. J. B. Edwards (found in The Harp of Ages). Here is the first verse and chorus:

Our hearts are filled with sorrow,
When Jesus calls to claim His own;
A seat is then left vacant,
Yes, vacant in our earthly home.

No vacant seats in Heaven -
No vacant seats around God's throne;
Up there 'tis joy and gladness,
Oh, gloryland, sweet heavenly home.


There will be no vacant seat in Heaven. If God has prepared a seat there, it will be filled not vacant. If it is filled, it will never become vacant at some future time, either.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Incorrect Christmas

The politically-correct God-can’t-do-anything-without-man’s permission version of Luke 1:26-35

26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel went to the city of Nazareth in Galilee,
27 To see a young girl who was engaged to be married to Joseph, a descendant of King David. The girl’s name was Mary.
28 And the angel appeared to her saying, “Hi, there. I hope I didn’t frighten you. The Lord has a proposition he’d like for you to consider.”
29 And Mary wondered just what might be going on.
30 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. God likes you very much.”
31 “Please think about it and then let us know whether you agree; God is hoping that you would be the one to give birth to the Messiah, his son who will be named Jesus.”
32 “This would be really good if you are willing to do this, for Jesus is going to be great and called the Son of God.”
33 “And he will reign over the house of Jacob (if they are willing, of course), and his kingdom will last forever (if everybody is okay with that).
34 Then Mary said, “If I agree to this, how will it happen?”
35 And the angel answered and said to Mary, “Well, if you are willing to be a participant who agrees to all this, then (and only then) the Holy Spirit’s power will cause you to become pregnant. Therefore the child you give birth to will be called God’s son.”

Monday, December 15, 2008

Proorizo in the King James Bible

A Critique of Joseph R. Holder's King James Translation of προορίζω [proorizo] Versus Other Contemporary Translations.

The full text of Elder Holder's essay/word study can be read
HERE. He inspects the six uses of the word προορίζω [proorizo] in the Greek New Testament and the corresponding translations of it in the King James Bible. The word study is designed to take effect on those of us who love and use the King James Bible – the particular effect being to reject the idea of God's predestination of things. Brother Holder notes that when people are referenced in four uses of proorizo, the KJB uses predestinate. When "associated with impersonal events" the translators use different English words rather than predestinate.

We can agree on:
1. In Romans 8:29, 30 and Ephesians 1:5, 11 the KJB uses predestinate/d; in Acts 4:28 and I Cor. 2:7 determined before and ordained before are used.
2. The King James translation is accurate.

It may seem, those propositions granted, that Elder Holder's case is proven. It may seem -- but not so fast. Let us look at the whole picture. In my opinion, this study contains some errors in logic. The first few I will pass over briefly then move on toward more weighty matters.

It is a linguistic fallacy that two different English words cannot mean the same thing. There are English words that have the same or similar meaning, semantic overlap, etc. Of itself, the fact that different English words are used in different verses proves little. Will we take the position that every usage of two different words in the KJB must mean two completely different things? If we believe this "different words principle" is valid, let us apply it consistently. For example, always omit the word "love" from any and all preached or written references to I Corinthians chapter 13. "Love" is found nowhere in that chapter in the KJB.

Next is an underlying ad hominem fallacy that implies guilt by association. "Predestinate" is used in the ESV and NASB where it is not in the KJB. Then the Christian who references predestination in Acts 4:28 or I Cor. 2:7 is associated with these contemporary translations. Yet some Christians used "predestinate" to refer to things long before any of these modern translations existed. They evidently didn't get the idea there.

And Elder Holder makes the mistake of attributing his conclusion – avoiding any implication of attributing to God the acts of those who crucified Jesus – as the reason the King James translators made particular word choices. This is an assumption at best. It would be interesting to investigate the beliefs of the King James translators regarding predestination.

But now I pass on to Elder Holder's conclusion. For the sake of argument I will try to stick with his terms. But this is more than a disagreement of word choices.

The author defines predestination as causative or controlling when it applies to people and their salvation. But then he asserts that God's involvement in events/things (particularly the crucifixion; no notice is taken of I Cor. 2:7) is neither causative nor controlling, with no investigation of the actual words in Acts 4:28 in the King James Bible. In the end, Elder Holder rests his case before he makes it.

The false dilemma or the "horns of a dilemma" fallacy. Given his two choices – “Did God effectually take over the minds and actions of otherwise law-abiding civil servants and religious leaders and force them to commit the dreadful acts that they committed against our Lord? Or did God intervene in the evil intents of these men and prevent them from doing far more than they did?” – one might naturally choose the latter. But these are not our only choices. Did God permit the actions of wicked civil servants and let religious zealots commit dreadful acts against our Lord in His determination to “bruise Him,” “put Him to grief” and “make His soul an offering for sin”? Or did He control their actions? Or could it have been one of several other ideas folks might hold? Perhaps a combination of causation, control and/or permission? Or determination of the acts of the wicked without culpability for those acts? Bible students hold more than just the two explanations of this essay.

The false cause or cum hoc, ergo propter hoc (with this therefore because of this). The events surrounding the coming of Christ are taken as examples “of divine limitation rather than divine cause.” But this is an assumption in which the facts prove what one already believes rather than founding the belief. Examples of divine limitation could just as well be examples of divine cause. The facts do not distinguish one from the other. That “Jesus came into the world at a time when Rome governed Judah…” can just as well be cause as limitation. If not, why not? “The timing of the crucifixion the day before a religious holiday…” can just as well be cause as limitation. If not, why not?

So God was merely intervening at intervals to limit what happened to Jesus? Never mind that Jesus came in the fullness of time that God actively determined and accurately prophesied. God determined when and where and by whom Jesus would be born. It was neither accident nor permission that the Spirit overshadowed a particular young virgin in a particular era. God was active in determining the crucifixion, yea, even before the foundation of the world. It pleased the Lord to bruise Him and make His soul an offering for sin. God gave Pilate authority (John 19:11), for without it he had no power against Jesus. God spared not His Son, but delivered Him up for us, Rom. 8:32. God gave Jesus the cup to drink, John 18:11. God awakened the sword against Him, Zech. 13:7. These and other verses contain the language of causation, not permission; action, not passivity.

Now let us inspect what the King James Bible records in Acts 4:28 and I Cor. 2:7.

Ordained before the world. I Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
Holder takes no notice of this beyond citing it. A consistent approach would mean that God only permitted Paul to reveal the hidden mysteries and did not actively determine anything before the world began. But God was deliberate in hiding it (Col. 1:26; Eph. 3:9) and active (not passive) in revealing it. And He determined/ordained this to be before the world began. Cf. I Cor. 2:10, God hath revealed.

Determined before. Acts 4:28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. In Acts 4:28 is this the language of causation or permission? Notice the King James Bible says the truth = against Jesus, Herod, Pontius Pilate, Gentiles and Israelites were gathered together (passive) to do what? Whatsoever God and God’s counsel determined. This is not permission. God had determined these events. And they are before determined (pre-determined). Notice a parallel passage in Acts 2:22-23. Jesus was delivered how? By the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. The men of Israel in their acts were wicked. Peter does not pass this off as God merely allowing it to happen. Neither does he charge God with wickedness. There are no words in these verses of God passively permitting the crucifixion or simply prohibiting things from getting out of hand. It is a curious theology indeed in which God predestines the end (eternal glory of His people) but fails to predetermine the means (the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross). The Bible declares that Jesus stood a lame slain from the foundation of the world (Cf. I Pet. 1:19-20; Rev. 13:8).

In my opinion, Elder Holder fails to make the case. He does not give sufficient reason that the King James Bible translations of proorizo prove God did not predetermine things/events before the foundation of the world. We can for the sake of argument accept Elder Holder’s terms and speak of God predestinating people and determining before things. If this were only a disagreement of word choices, it could be resolved quickly. But one will find that in dropping predestinating and speaking of determining before, Elder Holder and other limited predestinarians still will not agree that God determined beforehand and brought to pass the events of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is not so much in the words that we disagree, but in the theology.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My word shall not return void

“As the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” (Isa 55:10-13) KJV

We often think of this as meaning that any time the Word of God is presented it will bring forth results, even if they are not immediate results.

The truth is, however, the passage is telling us that God will keep the promises that He has made to His people.

His Word will not come back to Him without having brought to pass that which God purposed to do when He made promise to His people.

For this reason we should trust God deeply, intensely, and eternally.


-- My Bible And I, June 23, 2008, Jason Skipper at the Pastoral Musings blog (also reprinted in the Voice of Faith, December 2008, p. 3)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holder on marriage

"According to Paul, the husband’s role is not to constantly remind the wife that she must 'submit' to him in all things, regardless of the folly of his present idea. Nor is the wife’s role to pretend or feign submission, all the while working with subtlety to manipulate the husband so that he does what she wants without knowing that he has been orchestrated by her, the proverbial wife-as-neck-to-the-husband-head. Paul rejects both despotism in the husband and deceitful manipulation in the wife. God’s job description demands the highest and noblest of Christian virtue in every aspect of a truly godly marriage. Believers in Christ will seldom in their life have a better opportunity to model Christian virtue than in their marriage." -- Joe Holder in Gospel Gleanings, November 30, 2008 (excerpted by permission)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Prayers

Monnie Ross, Jr., long-time Rusk County resident, former chair and vice-chair of the East Texas Sacred Harp Singing Convention, beloved husband and father, passed away Thursday, December 11, 2008. Funeral services will be Monday, December 15, at 2:00 p.m. at the Crawford-Crim-Bryan Funeral Home in Henderson. Visitation will be Sunday evening, December 14, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the funeral home. Remember this family in your prayers.

Remember
Bart Barber's family and Nicholas Scroggs' family in your prayers.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Paul on troop support

"It is conveniently ignored that the only authentic way to best support the troops is to keep them out of dangerous undeclared no-win wars that are politically inspired." - Ron Paul

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Car Csar Bizarre

The current administration and Congress have come up with the bright idea that the U.S. of A. needs a Car Csar. Bad idea in a continously bizarre set of circumstances! This will be just an additional involuntary withdrawal from the American taxpayers' pocket books.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Old Baptist quotes (4)

"We therefore embrace these sacred writings as our only certain and infallible rule both of faith and obedience. All our religious notions, we desire to draw out of these pure and uncorrupted fountains of truth; and endeavor to think, and act agreeably to their direction." -- David Thomas, Virginia Baptist

"I learned about the unscriptural auxiliary, called an 'Association'; I know it is as dangerous as a rattle-snake when unscrupulous men get in charge of them, and they all have a tendency to encourage such men to get them under their control. Almost all of them will enslave their own ministers, usurping God’s authority over His own servants. If they are Fullerites, they well be involved in assigning them their fields of foreign labors; if Old Schoolers, they will be telling them where they had better not go, or else! If one position is worse than the other, preventing them from freely preaching the Gospel 'into all the world,' and 'to every creature,' is surely the worst. Wherever they are, everyone involved in them ought to be vigilant, or do not use them at all." -- (not-so-old Baptist quote) Stanley Phillips in Autobiography of Stanley C. Phillips

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ex lex and prima causa rerum

Ex-lex is Latin for "outside the law". Theologically, God is sometimes spoken of as "ex-lex" because He logically precedes, divinely supercedes and is the giver of law.

"...when the Calvinist spoke of God as the prima causa rerum, he meant by it only that all that takes place takes place in accordance with the divine will." -- Calvin's Doctrine of God, Princeton Theological Review Vol VII, Princeton, NJ: Princeton Theological Seminary, 1909, p. 406

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Quotsia

"Character counts. In times of adversity and crisis, it counts more than IQ points, instant trivia recall and bloviation skills." -- Michelle Malkin in The Cowardly Character Assassination Of Sarah Palin 7 Nov 2008

"Christian America has rejected much of what scripture teaches because it goes against the cultural norm. We become wise in our own eyes because our logic really makes sense to us. Just like a pilot cannot trust his sense of up, down, left, and right, but instead must trust his instrument panel, we must not trust our own sense of direction." -- Titus24mom on 7 Nov 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Houston Sacred Harp singing

Saturday, December 6th there will be an all-day Sacred Harp Singing in Houston, Texas (d.v.).

Heights Church of Christ
1548 Heights Blvd.
10:00am - 3:00pm
Cooper and Denson Books

If you want to make a full weekend of it, their regular monthly singings will also be that weekend:
Friday, December 5th
529 Euclid St.
7-9pm

Sunday, December 7th
University of Houston
A.D. Bruce Religion Center
Cullen Blvd., Entrance #13
2-4pm

Monday, December 01, 2008

For the poor

When Hagar found the bottle spent,
And wept o'er Ishmael;
A message from the Lord was sent
To guide her to a well.
Gen 21:19

Should not Elijah's cake and cruse,
Convince us at this day,
A gracious God will not refuse,
Provisions by the way?
1 Kings 17:14

His saints and servants shall be fed,
The promise is secure;
"Bread shall be given them," he has said,
"Their water shall be sure."
Isa. 33:16

Repasts far richer they shall prove
Than all earth's dainties are;
'Tis sweet to taste a Savior's love,
Though in the meanest fare.

To JESUS then your trouble bring,
Nor murmur at your lot;
While you art poor, and he is King,
You shall not be forgot.


William Cowper (1731-1800)
Olney Hymns, 1779.