Monday, August 15, 2022

Old and New Books

There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books...This mistaken preference for the modern books and this shyness of the old ones is nowhere more rampant than in theology. Wherever you find a little study circle of Christian laity you can be almost certain that they are studying not St. Luke or St. Paul or St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas or Hooker or Butler, but M. Berdyaev or M. Maritain or Mr. Niebuhr or Miss Sayers or even myself.

Now this seems to me topsy-turvy. Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But if he must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old.

Clive Staples Lewis, from God in the Dock

Sunday, August 14, 2022

O love, how deep, how broad, how high

This hymn is attributed to Thomas à Kempis, aka Thomas of Kempen (1380-1471), a German canon and author of Imitatio Christi (The Imitation of Christ).

Benjamin Webb (1819-1885) translated the text of eight stanzas into English. Webb was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, England. He was ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1843. Webb wrote music and hymns, as well as translating the hymns of others. With William Cooke, he was editor of The Hymnary: a Book of Church Song (1872). This hymn appears there as No. 177, in eight stanzas, in Long Meter, with the heading “The love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.”

1. O love, how deep, how broad, how high,
How passing thought and phantasy,
That God, the Son of God, should take
Our mortal form for mortals’ sake!
2. He sent no angel to our race,
Of higher or of lower place,
But to this world himself he came,
And wore the robe of human frame.
3. Nor willed he only to appear;
His pleasure was to tarry here;
And God and Man with man would be
The space of thirty years and three.
4. For us baptized, for us he bore
His holy fast, and hungered sore;
For us temptation sharp he knew,
For us the tempter overthrew.
5. For us he preaches and he prays,
Would do all things, would try all ways;
By words and signs and actions, thus
Still seeking not himself, but us.
6. For us to wicked men betrayed,
Scourged, mocked, in crown of thorns arrayed,
For us he bore the cross’s death;
For us he gave his dying breath.
7. For us he rose from death again,
For us he went on high to reign;
For us he sent his Spirit here
To guide, to strengthen, and to cheer.
8. All honour, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to Thee;
Whom with the Father we adore,
And Holy Ghost for evermore.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Hate speech laws themselves, 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.)

“‘Hate speech’ laws themselves should be viewed as a form of hate speech because they are designed to silence dissent.” -- Shelton Smith

“We often times read Scripture, thinking of what [we think] it ought to say, rather than what it does say.” -- Charles H. Spurgeon

“Scripture is the enemy of the flesh: the unrepentant war against it, the saved submit to it with joy.” -- Benjamin Mabee

“God possesses infinite knowledge and the knowledge of humans is limited to their observations and their ability and capacity to reason. So, what seems superfluous and flawed to human reason may actually be true.” -- Ed Garrett

“Talk sense to the fool and he calls you foolish.” -- attributed to Euripides

“Absence of evidence does not equal evidence of absence.”

“While nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer, nothing is more difficult than to understand him.” -- Fyodor Dostoevsky

“All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all.” -- 2nd London Baptist Confession, Chap. 1, Para. 7

“If we cannot trust that God has kept his word, which says he keeps our souls, how can we trust that he keeps our souls?”

“We are reminded that anger doesn’t solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything.” -- Thomas S. Monson

“Assurance is a fruit that grows out of the root of faith.” -- Stephen Charnock

“Pray to have eyes that see the best in people, a heart that forgives the worst in them, and a mind that forgets the worst and remembers the best.” -- Unknown

“If I utter a syllable that is not justified by the Scriptures, don’t believe me. The Bible is the only rule.” -- D. L. Moody

“We must always emphasize the Christian starting point that all our thinking ought to have. If we are Christians, then we must begin our thinking not with the assertions of unbelieving scholars and their naturalistic human logic, but with Christ and the logic of faith.” -- E. F. Hills

Redemption is a fit theme, and other music 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.)

“Redemption is a fit theme for the heartiest music.” -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“I have a friend who writes music about sewing machines. He’s a Singer songwriter. Or sew it seams.” -- Unknown

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” -- Jimi Hendrix, American rock musician

“Political correctness has grown to become the unhappiest religion in the world.” -- Nick Cave, Australian singer and songwriter

“With what moral dimension is my favourite music associated?” -- Dan Lucarini

“If we do not sing with the spirit and with the understanding, our singing is merely mechanical, consequently Heartless, and of no value to singers or to hearers.” -- Major W. E. Penn, Baptist evangelist

“As a rule, church choirs are an abomination in the sight of the Lord. They are only efficient in the worship of God when they are used as leaders of the congregation.” -- Major W. E. Penn, Baptist evangelist

“When a church gets so low down that it has to get the Devil to do its singing, a funeral sermon and a short burial service would be in order.” -- Major W. E. Penn, Baptist evangelist

Friday, August 12, 2022

Happy birthday

Happy tomorrow birthday to my brother, 68 years of his own, and 3-1/2 years ahead of me. 

May your day be blessed.

In other words, sounds alike

  • analyze (also analyse), verb (transitive). Examine methodically and in detail; discover or reveal (something) through detailed examination.
  • annalize, verb (transitive). To record or commemorate (events, a person’s actions, etc.) in annals or as if in annals; to chronicle.
  • bare, adjective. (of a person or part of the body) not clothed or covered; without the appropriate, usual, or natural covering.
  • bear, noun. A large, heavy mammal that walks on the soles of its feet, having thick fur and a very short tail.
  • bear, verb. Carry the weight of; support.
  • flour, noun. A powder obtained by grinding grain, typically wheat, and used to make bread, cakes, and pastry.
  • flower, noun. The seed-bearing part of a plant, consisting of reproductive organs (stamens and carpels) that are typically surrounded by a brightly colored corolla (petals) and a green calyx (sepals).
  • meat, noun. The flesh of an animal (especially a mammal) as food; food of any kind.
  • meet, verb. Come into the presence or company of; make the acquaintance of.
  • mete, verb. Dispense or allot justice, punishment, etc.
  • parity, noun. Equality, as in amount, status, or character; equivalence; correspondence; similarity; analogy. 
  • parody, noun. A humorous or satirical imitation of a serious piece of literature or writing.
  • parroty, adjective. Like or of the nature of a parrot.
  • penguin, noun. Any of several flightless, aquatic birds of the family Spheniscidae, of the Southern Hemisphere, having webbed feet and flipper-like wings.
  • pinguid, adjective. Fat; oily.
  • their, possessive pronoun. Belonging to or associated with the people or things previously mentioned or easily identified.
  • there, adverb. In or at that place; at that point in an action, speech; etc.
  • they’re, contraction. A contraction of the pronoun they and verb are.
  • to, preposition. Expressing motion in the direction of (a particular location).
  • too, adverb. To a higher degree than is desirable, permissible, or possible; also, in addition; very.
  • two, cardinal number. Equivalent to the sum of one and one; one less than three.
  • yogh, noun. The letter used in the writing of Middle English to represent a palatal fricative (Ȝ).
  • yoke, noun. A device for joining together a pair of draft animals; a pair of draft animals fastened together by a yoke.
  • yolk, noun. The yellow and principal substance of an egg, as distinguished from the white.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Christian baptism and John’s baptism

Revisiting John’s baptism and those who say it was not “Christian.”

One who says “Christian baptism is into the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ” sometimes argues that, strictly speaking, John’s baptism (and even the baptisms performed by the disciples of Jesus before Pentecost, John 3:22; John 4:1-2) should not be considered “Christian” because it did not symbolize the believer’s death, burial, and resurrection into a new life in Christ.[i]

Regardless of what we call John’s baptism, it was a baptism from God and not men – according to the Lord Jesus himself. The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? (Luke 20:4). There was a man sent from God, whose name was John (John 1:6). The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee (Mark 1:1-2).

John fulfilled his calling. With John, the coming of the Christ was no longer future but fulfilled. It was a future prediction for all previous prophets until John. John was not the last prophet. Other prophets came after him (cf. Ephesians 2:20; 1 Corinthians 12:28). However, John was the prophet whose ministry terminated in the fulfillment of the anticipated coming of the Christ. Jesus came and fulfilled the preparation of John. Those who reject the baptism of John as “Christian” baptism in effect deny that John completed his mission. They deny that he made ready a people “prepared” for the Lord. Instead, many of them claim it was the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost that actually made “ready a people prepared for the Lord” – contradicting the plain statement of Scripture (Luke 1:17). See also Acts 13:25, “…John fulfilled his course…”

John’s baptism was unto repentance. Christian baptism symbolizes the believers own death, burial and resurrection to a new person (life) in Christ. Paul plainly says that John required repentance and faith in Christ (Acts 19:4). John claimed to have preached the gospel of Christ (John 3:36), and Mark says the beginning of the gospel was with John (Mark 1:1-2). Yet for some reason those who deny that his baptism was Christian baptism think John preached some other kind of repentance connected with some other kind of gospel (cf. Galatians 1:8-9).[ii]

Those who reject the baptism of John as “Christian” baptism deny his baptism was “the counsel of God” (Lk. 7:29-30).[iii] Hence, the Pharisees, in rejecting John’s baptism as it would be invalidated in less than a year and half by God and Christians, were wiser than God or Christ were.

Does any text of Scripture call any water baptism either before or after the cross as “Christian” baptism? No, not at all! Baptism before the cross is just as “Christian” as baptism after the cross as far as scripture is concerned. The soteriology or ecclesiology (or both) of those who reject the baptism of John as “Christian” force them to that conclusion – rather than their being taught it by Scripture.

The “whatsoever I have commanded you” of the Great Commission could only refer back to the baptism of John and the apostles. That is the only baptism in existence. That is the only possible baptism Christ could “have” commanded previously. John 4:1-2 and Luke 7:29-30 confirm this. The Great Commission makes no change in baptism.

Some teach that the 3000 saved and baptized on the day of Pentecost included all the folks previously baptized by John the Baptist – “rebaptized” with “Christian baptism” (which they presume began on the day of Pentecost, along with “the” church). However, no repentant believers baptized by John or the apostles were part of the 3000-something baptized on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:41). These 3000-something people are identified as Jews who came from outside of Palestine. The 120-something John the Baptist kind of baptized disciples (Acts 1:21-22; 2:1) who were “all Galileans.”

One text of Scripture often arrayed against John’s baptism is Acts 19:1-7. The idea proposed is that John’s baptism was no longer valid after Pentecost, since Paul “re”baptized disciples of John in Ephesus. Such an approach is both astigmatic and unbiblical. This text bears of several explanations that do not require invalidating John’s baptism. I was taught and have always believed that John the Baptist did not baptize the disciples found in Ephesus. Rather they were merely baptized “unto John’s baptism” – that is, by someone perpetuating John’s baptism without the authority to do so. In recent years, I have come across another, and perhaps older, interpretation, which reads verse 5 of Acts 19 as part of Paul’s explanation of John’s baptism, rather than referring to the reaction of the Ephesian disciples.

Acts 19:4-5 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Both Baptists such as John Gill and Protestants such as Francis Turretin have taught this manner of understanding Acts 19:4-5.

XIV. Acts 19:4-5 does not prove that the Ephesian disciples, who had been baptized with the baptism of John, were rebaptized by Paul. For the words (verse 5) ἀκουσαντες δὲ ἐβαπτίσθησαν [“When they heard this, they were baptized,” rlv] are not the words of Luke telling what followed after Paul talked to them [the Ephesians], but rather a confirmation of Paul’s statement to those Ephesians, in which he teaches that those who had received baptism from John had been baptized in the name of Christ, and therefore had no need of a new baptism.[iv] Institutio Theologiæ Elencticæ, Tom. III (Institutes of Elenctic Theology, Volume 3), Francisco Turrettino, New York, NY: Robert Carter, 1847, p. 343

Ver. 5. When they heard this, &c.] That is, the people to whom John preached, his hearers; when they heard of the Messiah, and that Jesus was he, and that it became them to believe in him: they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus; not the disciples that Paul found at Ephesus, but the hearers of John; for these are the words of the Apostle Paul, giving an account of John’s baptism, and of the success of his ministry, shewing, that his baptism was administered in the name of the Lord Jesus; and not the words of Luke the Evangelist, recording what followed upon his account of John’s baptism; for then he would have made mention of the apostle’s name, as he does in the next verse; and have said, when they heard this account, they were baptized by Paul in the name of the Lord Jesus: the historian reports two things, first what Paul said, which lies in ver. 4, 5., then what he did, ver. 6., where he repeats his name, as was necessary; as that he laid his hands upon them, which was all that was needful to their receiving the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, having been already baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus: which sense is the more confirmed by the particles μεν and δε, which answer to one another in ver. 4, 5, and shew the words to be a continuation of the apostle’s speech, and not the words of the historian, which begin in the next verse. An Exposition of the New Testament, Volume II, John Gill, London: Matthews and Leigh, 1809, p. 324

If interpreters such as Gill and Turretin are correct, no contemporary water baptism occurs in the Acts 19:1-7 pericope. Rather Paul laid his hands upon already believing baptized disciples who had not “received the Holy Ghost,” and “the Holy Ghost came on them.” This is consistent with the experience of the baptized believers in Samaria, and seems a very good possibility. See Acts 8:14-17.

Consider also:

  • John’s authority came from heaven. Compare Matthew 21:25-27 and John 1:6.
  • John the Baptist preached of the Father, the Holy Ghost, and the coming Messiah. Compare Matthew 3:11.
  • John preached repentance and required evidence of it (cf. Matthew 3:8; John 3:36; Acts 19:4).
  • Apollos knew “only the baptism of John” (Acts 18:25-26), but was not “re”baptized.

A normal reading of the Scriptures is that John had a successful God-ordained ministry of preparing disciples for the coming Messiah, including his baptizing of those disciples, and those disciples leaving John and following Christ. One possesses an odd and seemingly almost determined discordant dogmatism to find the baptism of John as an aberration within God’s program!

[i] Those who “unchristianize” John’s baptism must also look at doing so to the baptism by the disciples under the authority of Jesus (John 4:1-2). The Gospels are clear. The disciples walking with Jesus did not distinctly and thoroughly understand his ministry until after his resurrection – especially concerning his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Yet they were baptized. They were never rebaptized. (though a few people try to make up such a scenario). Prior to the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus, the baptism ministry of the disciples of Jesus was a transitional ministry similar to John’s baptism. It pointed to a time in the future when things would be more clearly fulfilled and understood. This in no way nullifies either the baptism of John or the baptism of the apostles. There is only one water baptism in the New Testament, whether by John or the disciples, whether before or after Pentecost.
[ii] All saints prior to the coming of Jesus the Christ were “Christians.” They were all believers in Christ (Messiah/Anointed). Peter plainly says that (Acts 4:12 with 10:43). People did not call such believers “Christians” (as far as we know until Acts 11:35 in Antioch) – but they were nevertheless believers in Christ as their Christ and Saviour.
[iii] Or, at least suggest it was inferior counsel as not only would all Christians reject it on Pentecost but God would reject it as well!
[iv] XIV. Locus Act. xix. 4, 5, non evincit rebaptizatos fuisse a Paulo discipulos Ephesios, qui baptizati fuerant baptismo Johannis. Verba enim (vers. 5) ἀκουσαντες δὲ ἐβαπτίσθησαν non sunt verba Lucæ narrantis quid sit consecutum Pauli sermonem ad ipsos, sed potius confirmatio orationis Paulinæ ad illos Ephesios, qua docet illos, qui baptismum acceperant a Johanne, fuisse baptizatos in nomine Christi, atque adeo non opus habuisse novo baptismo.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Funny quotes

“I’d like to start dieting, but there’s just too much on my plate right now.” -- Unknown

“All good things are invented in Scotland, stole by the English, then sold to the Americans.” -- Gordon Campbell

Construction advice

Q. How do you keep a concrete slab from cracking?
A. Do not pour a concrete slab!

Q. How do you keep a flat roof from leaking?
A. Replace it with a pitched roof!

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Update on Rafter cutting

I ran across an old post from 2010, and thought I would update it a bit.

While wandering around the internet, I ran up on the Rafter Angle Calculator at Construction It looked like a nice resource. It brought back some memories. (Unfortunately, I cannot presently, July 2022, connect to that site. After 12 years, I do not remember for sure, but I assume it was an online device to calculate rafter cuts.)

Once upon a time I was a rafter man on a framing crew. I have not excelled at many things in my life, but at that I did. I was a master rafter crafter.
😀 All that seems far away now. It’s been probably 25 years or so since I did much construction work – excluding the recent “playdominium” I built for my grandchildren. There are some days when I miss both framing in general and rafter cutting in particular, but sweating profusely in the Texas summer heat building the “playdominium” was not one of them!

After finding the “Rafter Angle Calculator,” I did some further searching on rafter cutting. It appears to be a skill whose practitioners are dwindling. Pre-made trusses are one major factor in this, replacing cut rafters on many projects. Curiously, while reading about the subject online I didn’t notice anyone mentioning that rafters could be laid out with a framing square. Does anyone know how to do this anymore? [Note: I found this article on Rafter Layout with a Framing Square. I skimmed over it, and it seems to be reliable. Have not read it word for word.]

After learning to cut rafters from my Dad, I tried to add to my skill through reading and practice. One of the best was an old textbook cast off by some school – Simplified Roof Framing by John Douglas Wilson and Schurer Olaf Werner, 1927. I think I found it at a garage sale or junk sale.

Eventually, I would cut an entire roof ahead of or at the beginning of construction. In order to not have thousands of dollars of 2X6’s cut wrong, I used a three-part “safety system.” (1) I laid out the rafter with a framing square. (2) I calculated the length of the rafter with a Construction Master Calculator by Calculated Industries.1 (My boss bought one for me; their look has changed a good bit since back then). (3) I used a rafter table booklet titled Full Length Roof Framer by A. F. J. Riechers.2 If/when these three were the same, I was confident there was no mistake and the 6-1/2" worm drive Skil Saw® was ready to take its bite. If you find a house with rafters that I cut it will have a pattern rafter (or more than one, according to roof type). The pattern rafter was the one from which others were laid out, and also had notes with all the information about the rafter – cut, span, length, depth of seat cut, overhang, etc., as well as my signature of approval. (This was useful on several occasions when we went back and added to a house we had already built. I found the pattern rafter and had all the information to create a newly matching rafter.)

Those were the days.

Other info on roof framing
A Roof Cutter’s Secrets to Framing the Custom Home by Will L. Holladay
Basic Roof Framing Instructions online
Rafter Calculator
Roof Framer’s Bible: The Complete Pocket Reference to Roof Framing by Barry D. Musse
Roof Framing by Marshall Gross (Carlsbad, CA: Craftsman Book Co., 1998)

1. The Construction Master Calculator can calculate in feet/inches and figure pitch, rise, run, etc.
2. The Full Length Roof Framer has been in publication over 100 years, since 1917, and is still not outdated. The author, Augustus Frederick John Riechers, was born May 31, 1889 in Pennsylvania. He died October 23, 1978 in San Mateo County, California. His daughter (J. Remmel) published a metric edition of Full Length Roof Framer in 1992.
3. A blogger gives some helpful drawings he thinks could have been included in Full Length Roof Framer and Simplified Roof Framing.

A Story of the Full Length Roof Framer

...By Augustus Frederick John Riechers.

Palo Alto Daily Times, Tuesday, October 13, 1959, p. 16

Monday, August 08, 2022

What is phishing, 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.

The fittest interpreter

That the Scripture is the only Authentick Record of the Mind and Will of God. For it is certain and undoubted Voice of God himself; and what that speaks, He speaks. And who so fit to Interpret the meaning of the words as himself? Ejus est Interpretari, cujus est condere, is an approved Rule in Civil Law; He that made the Law, is fittest to Interpret it. And in the present case the Reason is evident; God best knows his own Mind; and he hath no where so plainly and fully revealed his Mind as in Scripture. Certainly there can be none so sure and infallible Interpreter of these sacred Records, as the Holy Spirit that endited them; and he Interprets them, not by suggesting to us anything for their understanding which is not there already, but by speaking to us more clearly from some part of Scripture, what is delivered more darkly in others. Can any Man, or sort of Men in the World, pretend to know the Mind of God better than himself? or give us better assurance what his Mind is, than the Word which himself hath appointed to be written for this very purpose? Whatsoever sense may be put upon any Scripture-Assertion, and by whomsoever framed, it cannot challenge our undoubted reception, unless we can discern the Voice of God in it.

John Wilson, The Scriptures Genuine Interpreter Asserted: or a Discourse Concerning the Right Interpretation of Scripture (In the Savoy: Printed by T. N. for R. Boulter, 1678), pages 215-216.