Wednesday, April 30, 2008

National Day of Prayer

In the United States, tomorrow is the National Day of Prayer,* held on the first Thursday in May.** Most people I know consider this a day of Christian prayer. But as a national day it is designated by Congress for each American to pray according to his or her own beliefs. Many of the more prominent events are Christian events, planned by private rather than governmental entities. For example, the National Day of Prayer Task Force is a privately funded Christian organization.

I suppose at best I have little feeling toward the day (either for or against). The day has never been a part of my tradition and background, and additionally I'm not much of a celebrater of days (even though I often acknowledge them on my blog). If truly celebrated nationally the National Day of Prayer would be quite an ecumenical event -- not just all denominations of Christians, but Jews, Muslims, and all religions (or non-religions) who hold prayer as part of their tradition. But, on the other hand, it is nice to live in a country that officially recognizes that prayer is an important part of the lives of its people.

"Pray without ceasing." -- 1 Thess. 5:17

* The National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress.
** When I looked for this NDOP on my calendar, I did not find it but found "Ascension Day". Being a backward Baptist, I had to look it up. It marks the "church calendar" date to celebrate the ascension of Jesus, approximately 40 days after Easter Sunday.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The arrow of death

An old Puritan penned the words, "The arrow of death had taken it's flight before we drew a breath" [mentioned by Don Martin on predestinarian forum 18 September 2007]

Monday, April 28, 2008

Word today

Façon de Parler -- [French. façon (manner) de (of) parler (to speak)] "way of speaking", "manner of speech"; often used in English as "figurative expression," or "figure of speech."

"The 'elect lady' in 2 John 1 is a façon de parler."

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Happy are the faithful dead

Hark! A voice divides the sky, happy are the faithful dead!
In the Lord who sweetly die, they from all their toils are freed;
Them the Spirit hath declared blessed, unutterably blessed;
Jesus is their great reward, Jesus is their endless rest.

Followed by their works, they go where their Head has gone before;
Reconciled by grace below, grace has opened mercy's door;
Justified through faith alone, here they knew their sins forgiven,
Here they laid their burden down, hallowed, and made fit for heaven.

Who can now lament the lot of a saint in Christ deceased?
Let the world, who know us not, call us hopeless and unblessed:
When from flesh the spirit freed hastens homeward to return,
Mortals cry, "A man is dead!" Angels sing, "A child is born!"

Born into the world above, they our happy brother greet,
Bear him to the throne of love, place him at the Savior's feet;
Jesus smiles, and says, "Well done, good and faithful servant thou;
Enter, and receive thy crown, reign with Me triumphant now."

Angels catch the approving sound, bow, and bless the just award;
Hail the heir with glory crowned, now rejoicing with his Lord:
Fuller joys ordained to know, waiting for the general doom,
When the archangel's trump shall blow, "Rise, ye dead, to judgment come!"

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1742.
7s. (Doubled)

I especially like the way Wesley differentiates the earthly and heavenly perspectives of death. When from flesh the spirit freed hastens homeward to return, Mortals cry, "A man is dead!" Angels sing, "A child is born!"

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Anyone out there had any experience with (a group of readers who share books with each other for the cost of postage)?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ramblings on the age of marriage

The state of Texas/FLDS fiasco at Eldorado brings up a question I ask with trepidation -- at what age can a person biblically and morally enter into consent to marry? There are at least three parts to viewing the marriage question: (1) what is legal; (2) what is moral/Biblical; and (3) what is wise.

Legal. Laws vary from state to state in the U.S., as well as varying from nation to nation. In Texas, a person 16 or older but under 18 years of age applying for a marriage license must have parental consent to the marriage or a court order granted under Section 2.103 authorizing the marriage (this is probably for cases when the parents are deceased). A person under 16 may not legally marry in the state of Texas. A person married in the state of Texas may not legally marry if presently married to a another person. So the Fundamentalist Mormons in Eldorado, Texas are (if what we hear is true) in violation of the laws of the state in which they live. This might not apply were they living somewhere else.

Moral. What is legal is not necessarily what is moral.1 Is marriage of children under a certain legal age immoral? I am not asking whether specific instances are immoral, but is the practice inherently immoral? In other words, is it always a sin for a young person under the age of 16 years, for example, to get married? Does the Bible speak to the issue of when a child becomes old enough to enter into a marriage? How much are people of different cultures bound to think their cultural practice is what is morally acceptable rather than looking to the Bible for what is morally acceptable?

It is not unusual for Biblical studies to place Mary's age between 12 and 16 years old at the birth of Jesus, and consider Joseph as an older man.2 Over the past 30 years, I have heard a number of preachers mention this, apparently agreeing with it. Assuming that is true, why would God allow Himself to enter earthly life through a teenage girl? We would never call either the Holy Ghost or Joseph child molesters. Again, assuming this is true, why would God put His stamp of approval on a home based on a marriage that was immoral?

Wise. Regardless of the answer to whether there is a settled age under which it is immoral to marry and over which it is not immoral to marry, I cannot imagine that it is wise for every person to get married just as soon as he or she possibly can.

1. There is an element in the New Testament that places a certain morality in obedience to the law, unless the law causes one to disobey God.
2. The proposed ages are based on Jewish custom and other external factors. The Bible does not indicate how old either Mary or Joseph were in relation to Jesus' birth or to one another.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pine Grove Memorial Singing

Sunday April 27th will be the date (d.v.) of the Pine Grove Cemetery Homecoming Singing. Pine Grove is southeast of Henderson, Texas. From Henderson travel FM 840 to FM Road 2867. Turn left and travel this road to County Road 364. Turn right. Pine Grove Community, Church, and Cemetery is just a little ways down County Road 364 on the left in a 90 degree curve in the road. We will be using the 2006 Cooper Book. We start at 10 a.m. (Lord willing) and have dinner on the ground.

Like the man of Macedonia in the apostle Paul's vision, we say, "Come over and help us."

A tree's story

Once upon a time, on a particular day in a particular place, an acorn fell onto the ground, where it was nourished by God's soil, sun and rain. The little acorn grew into an oak tree that stood in the right place with some of its branches in the right configuration at just the right height; so that a young rebel riding on a mule that made him sit the right height and ran at just the right speed would lodge his head among the oak's branches to be held in suspension until his time to die at the hands of his father's captain, despite his father the king's instructions to the contrary.

II Sam 18 - And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Quote: "We deny that the words predestinate, predestinated, or predestination refer to things or events. We affirm that the context of the scripture shows that these words refer to people -- to the elect (not the non-elect) -- and specifically, to the destiny of the elect of God, here and hereafter, not what they do, or what they determine before hand to do. We deny that the words 'predestinate or predestinated' are synonymous with the words or phrases 'ordain, foreordain, determine, predeterminate counsel,' etc."

I copied these words from some source a good while back. I must apologize that I failed to note the source (and now I don't remember). Nevertheless, I wonder what you readers think of this quote. My opinion is that it is incorrect.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Queen of Sheba

1 Kings 10:1-9 "Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices and very much gold and precious stones. And when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. And Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the LORD, there was no more breath in her. And she said to the king, "The report was true that I heard in my own land of your words and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard. Happy are your men! Happy are your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness."

1. From Sheba a distant report
Of Solomon's glory and fame,
Invited the queen to his court,
But all was outdone when she came;
She cried, with a pleasing surprise,
When first she before him appeared,
"How much, what I see with my eyes,
"Surpasses the rumor I heard!"

2. When once to Jerusalem come,
The treasure and train she had brought;
The wealth she possessed at home,
No longer had place in her thought:
His house, his attendants, his throne,
All struck her with wonder and awe;
The glory of Solomon shone,
In every object she saw.

3. But Solomon most she admired,
Whose spirit conducted the whole;
His wisdom, which God had inspired,
His bounty and greatness of soul;
Of all the hard questions she put,
A ready solution he showed;
Exceeded her with and her suit,
And more than she asked him bestowed.

4. Thus I when the gospel proclaimed
The Savior's great name in my ears,
The wisdom for which he is famed,
The love which to sinners he bears;
I longed, and I was not denied,
That I in his presence might bow;
I saw, and transported I cried,
"A greater than Solomon Thou!"

5. My conscience no comfort could find,
By doubt and hard questions opposed;
But He restored peace to my mind,
And answered each doubt I proposed:
Beholding me poor and distressed,
His bounty supplied all my wants;
My prayer could have never expressed
So much as this Solomon grants.

6. I heard, and was slow to believe,
But now with my eyes I behold,
Much more than my heart could conceive,
Or language could ever have told:
How happy thy servants must be,
Who always before thee appear!
Vouchsafe, LORD, this blessing to me,
I find it is good to be here.

-- John Newton
Olney Hymns, Book 1. Hymn 34

Friday, April 18, 2008

The government and education

In the United States, education is outside the realm of authority of the Federal Government.* According to the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Since authority for education is not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, it is reserved to the people or the individual states. Notwithstanding, the U.. S. Department of Education has initiatives from Early Childhood to High School. According to, the Department "currently administers a budget of $68.6 billion per year—$59.2 billion in discretionary appropriations and $9.4 billion in mandatory appropriations—and operates programs that touch on every area and level of education." Another page lists the E.D. budget at $71.5 billion. Spending an unauthorized $71.5 billion of its citizens' money doesn't sound like following the intent of the Constitution. Sounds like a violation of that trust to me.

We have been so duped by the concept of public education that we can't see possibilities. Well, let's see -- homeschools, private schools, private grants, tutors, community education. Yes, the old one-room community school worked pretty well; at 93, my mother can still quote poetry she learned in the community school (although I think they had two or three rooms ;-D ). And this should tend to infuse back into people the idea that they -- not their government -- are responsible for their children's education. Christians should understand the Bible concept of parental responsibility. Part of that responsibility is the education of our children. That doesn't mean that we personally have to do all the educating -- but that we personally are responsible.

We Americans have consistenly maintained the need for an independent media -- radio & TV newscasts, newspapers, periodicals, etc. -- free from government control. Why? So we continue to maintain freedom of speech and and freedom of the press. So we are not required to repeat some government-approved version of the "facts". Why have we not sought the same for education? With government funding comes government strings. Government strings inhibit freedom. When our freedom to think is gone we are stringed puppets of the state. Oh, those government strings. Soon we'll be fiddling someone else's tune.

* Our Federal Government was granted no authority and given no responsibility in the arena of education. But there is legal room for state and local involvement. Then it becomes way or combination of ways best serves to educate our children.

A couple of quotes
"Education is not a right...Parents have a right to earn the money with which to educate their young. They don't have the right to compel the childless, the home-schooler, the private school userm -- nor anyone really -- to pay for public-education or school-voucher options." -- "Eliminate government-funded education!" by Ilana Mercer, March 13, 2002

"The U.S. public school monopoly is guilty of seven deadly sins: It wastes resources, discourages good teaching, inhibits parental involvement, suppresses information, stifles innovation, creates conflict and harms the poor." -- The Seven Deadly Sins of Government-Funded Schools by Mark Harrison (This article appeared in the Chattanooga Times Free Press on August 14, 2005)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

And this, too?

Yesterday contained a link to a story about a community college; today, a student’s right to perform a religious song at a high school.

A student at Spanish Fort High School in Baldwin County, Alabama entered a talent competition, which was was open to all students. The school placed no requirements about what types of songs students could sing. But after the student submitted two songs that he had written, the school decided the songs were too religious.

According to an Alliance Defense Fund attorney, "In this case, students were invited to perform an act of their choosing. It was a violation of our client's constitutional rights to tell him what he could or could not sing simply because it was religious in nature."

The Clanton Advertiser and the ADF web site

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A common practice?

In Prof to student: Keep the faith, lose the grade on World Net Daily, we read the story of Gina DeLuca and a professor at the Suffolk County Community College in New York. Professors requiring students to believe what the professor believes is probably a much more common occurrence that we might think.

County Line Singing

The County Line Singing will be this Saturday -- April 19th (d.v.). The location is County Line Primitive Baptist Church at the end of FM 3081 at Cut and Shoot, Texas. Click link for map, and other information.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This day in 1912

April 15, 1912: RMS Titanic sank. About 1500 of the 2,200 on board died.

This day in 2008
Pope Benedict made his first visit to the United States
The US Infernal Revenue Service has its deadline for filing.

I find it intriguing that the IRS's deadline falls on the same day on which the Titanic sunk. Perhaps they are trying to sink us.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Saturday, April 12, 2008

We are seven

--A Simple Child,
That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death?

I met a little cottage Girl:
She was eight years old, she said;
Her hair was thick with many a curl
That clustered round her head.

She had a rustic, woodland air,
And she was wildly clad:
Her eyes were fair, and very fair;
--Her beauty made me glad.

"Sisters and brothers, little Maid,
How many may you be?"
"How many? Seven in all," she said
And wondering looked at me.

"And where are they? I pray you tell."
She answered, "Seven are we;
And two of us at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea.

"Two of us in the church-yard lie,
My sister and my brother;
And, in the church-yard cottage, I
Dwell near them with my mother."

"You say that two at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea,
Yet ye are seven!--I pray you tell,
Sweet Maid, how this may be."

Then did the little Maid reply,
"Seven boys and girls are we;
Two of us in the church-yard lie,
Beneath the church-yard tree."

"You run about, my little Maid,
Your limbs they are alive;
If two are in the church-yard laid,
Then ye are only five."

"Their graves are green, they may be seen,"
The little Maid replied,
"Twelve steps or more from my mother's door,
And they are side by side.

"My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem;
And there upon the ground I sit,
And sing a song to them.

"And often after sunset, Sir,
When it is light and fair,
I take my little porringer,
And eat my supper there.

"The first that died was sister Jane;
In bed she moaning lay,
Till God released her of her pain;
And then she went away.

"So in the church-yard she was laid;
And, when the grass was dry,
Together round her grave we played,
My brother John and I.

"And when the ground was white with snow,
And I could run and slide,
My brother John was forced to go,
And he lies by her side."

"How many are you, then," said I,
"If they two are in heaven?"
Quick was the little Maid's reply,
"O Master! we are seven."

"But they are dead; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!"
'Twas throwing words away; for still
The little Maid would have her will,
And said, "Nay, we are seven!"

-- William Wordsworth

Friday, April 11, 2008

America's favorite book

Bible is America's favorite book

"NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - When it comes to literary pursuits in the United States most people agree on at least one thing -- the most popular book is the Bible, according to a new survey.

"It came in first in a Harris Poll of nearly 2,513 adults but the second choice in the survey was not as clear cut.

"'While the Bible is number one among each of the different demographic groups, there is a large difference in the number two favorite book,' Harris said in a statement announcing the results."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The average church

As best I can tell, Barna's reference to "the average church" includes all denominations.

"The Barna Research Group says in the United States the average church attracts 89 adults on a typical weekend...Barna says only two percent of churches have more than 1,000 adults in a typical weekend." -- From Small churches heartbeat of Convention by Norman Jameson

I would think that "the average church" is likely smaller than the average person tends to think it is.

All of the churches I've been associated with would be below average. We thought churches with 89 in attendance were large churches!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A moral obligation

"Kids in Baptist churches would be a great deal safer if denominational leaders would recognize that, whether or not they have any legal obligation, they have a moral obligation to congregations and to the public to investigate and disclose admitted, proven and credibly accused child molesters hiding among the ranks of Baptist clergy." -- From Christa Brown's Stop Baptist Predators web site

This post brings together the issue of clergy sexual abuse and the time-honored Baptist doctrine of local church autonomy. Organizations like SBP and SNAP have brought the problem of sexual abuse by clergy to the forefront -- and well they should. This is a very real problem, and unfortunately, one that has been pushed to the background and even covered up by some Baptist clergy, churches and institutions.

The problem. Sexual abuse by the clergy may take at least two forms -- (1) child abuse, in which the victims are under legal age of sexual consent, and (2) abuse of adults who are vulnerable because of the pastor's authority/power. Both are moral issues. And both can be legal matters. The first, child abuse, is obviously so. The second may depend somewhat on and vary by state laws. For example, in the state of Texas, a clergymen can be guilty of sexual exploitation as a "mental health services provider" (Chapter 81 of the "Civil Practices and Remedy Code") and "a sexual assault under Subsection (a)(1) is without the consent of the other person if...the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person's emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman's professional character as spiritual adviser..." (Texas Penal Code sec. 22.011).

Doing something to stop sexual predators that have themselves in pastoral, youth, music and other "ministries". Evidence indicates that many times the perpetrators, once exposed, simply move on to another church in another area. Often victims do not have the power or resources to stop them. The perpetrator may be in a position of power and the church may have great trust in him. Churches may not believe the victim, may not have the fortitude to deal with the issue, think forgiveness is the ideal, or handle it in a variety of other ways.

Where the two issues come together. Exposing clergy sexual abuse and local church autonomy sometimes seem at odds with one another. To those who want Baptists to organize at the national level against abuse by the clergy, local autonomy may be seen as an excuse to do nothing. Robert Parham (of the Baptist Center for Ethics) called local church autonomy, in regards to preacher predators, a "smoke-screen behind which fundamentalists hide, covering the dark reasons that they wish to skirt moral responsibility." This is strong language. A bulk of complaints is directed against the Southern Baptist Convention, I suppose since it is by far the largest Baptist group. Those like Parham believe SBC leaders "override local church autonomy when they want to enforce doctrinal and political power" and simply won't do anything about the abuse issue. On the other hand, Art Rogers writes, "...the SBC does not have the privilege of oversight and governance among local congregations." And that is the hard fact. I am not in the SBC and have no intention of defending its structure (which I really don't like). But I believe that most sincere SBC folks believe that their structure and practice maintains local church autonomy and they try to approach it consistently (regardless of how the rest of us see it).

Much energy can be expended condemning the SBC for inaction. More energy can be expended hammering against Baptist polity (local church autonomy) and seeking to change or undermine it in order to fight clergy sexual abuse in Baptist congregations. But Baptist polity has been in place as long as there have been Baptists, and Baptists are unlikely to think about abandoning local autonomy, much less actually changing it. It seems to me that a better approach is to come up with ways to deal with the problem WITHIN existing Baptist polity rather than trying to change that polity. Such a solution might be more universally implemented, since all Baptists (not just SBC) share this belief in local autonomy.

In combination with some better ideas that others might have, I believe a return of Baptists to apostolic practice in the following five areas could prove helpful.

1. Replace the single pastor model with a biblical plurality of equal elders. In addition to following New Testament precedent, this will diminish the authority/power/prestige element that perpetrators use to their advantage to molest and cover it up. Even large churches with more than one minister nevertheless have a top-down hierarchy.

2. Lessen the "clergy-laity divide". The clergy-laity divide in Baptist churches is greater than in the New Testament priesthood of believers. Also, the power and authority of pastors is somewhat "out of control". In some cases a single pastor or senior pastor may be theoretically answerable to his congregation yet practically answerable to no one.

3. Expect God to raise up ministers from our midst. Other than itinerants like the apostles, the New Testament ministers seem to be raised up from the church's own ranks. We may not always know those we think we know as well as we think we know them. But this eliminates the "normalcy" of ministers traveling across the country to new pastorates with their wicked deeds left safely behind.

4. Promote "simple church" in place of the monstrous business-like structures most Americans call church, including house churches with smaller more intimate fellowship where the blight of clergy abuse might be harder to cover up, more likely to be found out, and less likely to be tolerated. It is sometimes a charge that churches are frozen to inaction by a fear of lawsuits. Therefore a church might act in the best interest of their "holdings" rather than the best interest of a victim. I cannot verify or deny the truth of such a charge, but I believe having few assets could help remove the fear of losing them.

5. Return pastors to giving Biblical counsel, rather than being counselors who are "mental health providers". First, pastors should give Biblical counsel. Second, most pastors are not qualified to be "counselors" of the modern "head-shrinking" variety. Third, more people need to hear what the Bible says and think less about how they feel about what the Bible says. In my limited experience I have found many who want to talk to the preacher are looking for some "out" rather than actually wanting find out what the Lord says.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Quoting others

"The relationship between theory and practice is the relationship between cause and effect. If a person believes correct theory his practice will tend to be correct." -- From The Crisis of Our Time, by John W. Robbins

"In the task of biblical interpretation, 'the one and only interpretation' of a passage is a foundational concept. Indeed, it is the mission. The ten-dollar seminary word for the task of interpreting the Bible is hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is the quest for 'the one and only interpretation' of the passage. Any time that it does not result in "the one and only interpretation" of a passage, hermeneutics has failed. The Bible is not about our diversity; it is about God's singular revealed truth." -- From
Interpreting the Bible, Part 1 "The One and Only Interpretation", on Praisegod Barebones, the online musings of Bart Barber

Monday, April 07, 2008

A conspiracy theory

The Omega Conspiracy: Satan's Last Assault On God's Kingdom. I.D.E. [Isaac David Ellis] Thomas. Crane, MO: Anomalos Publishing/Official Disclosure, 2008. $14.99. paper, 240 pages. ISBN: 0978845358.

The Omega Conspiracy is not the kind of book I would normally purchase or read. A friend gave me his copy and asked me to read it. We were studying the fallen angels in Jude, and the book relates to that. I.D.E. Thomas takes the position that the fallen angels of Jude verse 6 are the sons of God of Genesis 6:2.

The edition I read was printed in 1991 by Hearthstone Publishing. A new edition has just been reprinted by Anomalos Publishing/Official Disclosure. I do not know if there are any differences. The author of is a native of Wales in the United Kingdom, born in Carmarthenshire. Thomas held pastorates in Bethesda, Caernarfon and Llanelli. At the time of the 1991 publication, he was Minister of the First Baptist Church of Maywood, California. He is affiliated with the California Pacific School of Theology (an unaccredited institution of higher learning in Glendale, CA) and Pacific International University (an unaccredited university and seminary that offers distance learning courses). Thomas has written a number of books, including William Shakespeare and His Bible, God's Harvest: The Nature of True Revival, and A Puritan Golden Treasury of Quotations.

The Omega Conspiracy consists of an Introduction followed by 13 chapters. The substance might be summed up in a couple of items found online: "Mr. Thomas believes that a hybrid offspring culminated from relations between the Nephilim and the 'daughters of man' resulting in increased wickedness upon the earth; and thus evoking God's wrath in the form of the 'Great Flood'." And "I.D.E. Thomas reveals...signs that point to a return of mysterious beings known in the Bible as 'Nephilim'."

Thomas begins his book discussing some early mysteries of human history, such as the Mayan Calendar, Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids -- fitting a "pre-historic" aura around the human civilizations of those places and periods. This will "support" his idea that such high knowledge had to come from a source outside human civilization. He seems to reject out-of-hand any possibility that any ancient civilizations could have possessed certain high knowledge in math, engineering, etc. that we have not discovered today. His thesis accepts the reality of UFO sightings, and that those travelers are not extra-terrestrials but rather spiritual beings. In summary -- fallen angels.

Next he builds his case for fallen angels being the sons of God in Genesis 6:2. According to Thomas, the cause of Noah's flood was the illicit union of human females and fallen angels. To support his weak case, of which the Bible says little, he goes outside and brings in evidence from mythology and apocryphal writings. In Jude, he reads back into verse 6 the sexual sin of Sodom in verse 7 (going after strange flesh). Strange flesh in v. 7 means homosexuality, but in v. 6 means non-human. He does not sufficiently address numerous objections, e.g. {1} Giants or nephilim existed before the union of the sons of God and daughters of men (though he explains them as a product of the union); {2} Giants or nephilim existed in later Biblical periods with no evidence of "unnatural" union (though he seems content to accept such unnatural unions without any evidence); {3} The scripturally stated reason for the flood is the absolute wickedness of man rather than God trying to stave off the spread of some "genetic defect" or hybridized breed of angel-humans; {4} Noah's "perfection in his generations" is an uprightness by faith, not some pure genetic line of human descent; and finally {5} Jesus' own commentary on the days of Noah.

As Thomas winds up his book, he is so given over to his own conclusions that almost anything satisfies as proof of his proposition. On the other hand, rather than disproving objections he simply dismisses them.

As best as I can tell, the conspiracy and "Satan's Last Assault on God's Kingdom" is, according to Thomas, in the form of current UFO/fallen angel activity. This activity will once again produce union between the sons of God (fallen angels/UFO travelers) and the daughters of men (human females), bringing on the judgment of God?? I don't think he bothers to explain why the sons of God of Genesis 6:2 were evidently of such character that they could be "marrying and giving in marriage," while current UFO beings are often hideous and incommunicable.

Bottom line -- I don't recommend this book. Times are hard; save your money! Thomas asks his readers to accept fantastic ideas on very low standards of proof.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Inspire my prayer

I like the way Wesley acknowledges that it is God Who inspires and then accepts our prayers.

Jesu, my Savior, Brother, Friend,
On Whom I cast my every care,
On Whom for all things I depend,
Inspire, and then accept, my prayer.

Excerpt from a 7-stanza hymn by Charles Wesley (1707-1788) in Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1742.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Singing at Carmine

The Brazos River Singing will be held this Saturday April 5 (d.v.) at Carmine, Texas. Carmine is on US 290 between Houston and Austin, or more specifically between Giddings -- home of the September Wendish Fest -- and Brenham -- home of Blue Bell Creameries and the best-selling single flavor of ice cream in the United States (homemade vanilla).

Tuesday, April 01, 2008