Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Sacred Harp, 2012 Cooper edition

Last year at this time -- the Saturday before the first Sunday in December -- the new The Sacred Harp, Revised Cooper Edition, 2012 was debuted at the Florida State Singing Convention in Panama City, Florida. Here are a few of the things that were done to improve the quality and usefulness of the book for future generations.

The pages were re-typeset throughout, from front to back.

Additional stanzas of poetry were added to 95 songs (and in a few cases a few stanzas were removed; e.g. 582).

Songs were moved to reduce crowding and give more space on the page. 11 songs were moved in the 2012 edition from their pages in previous editions.

107 Rock Of Ages moved to 451
195 Worcester moved to 588
269 The Judgment moved to 592
393 I’m On My Journey Home moved to 207t
451 Martin moved to 107
488 Nearer My God To Thee moved to 587
498 The Gospel Feast moved to 585
504 God’s Wondrous Love moved to 578
514 I Love To Sing Of Jesus moved to 584
516 The Gates Of Paradise moved to 580
520 Long Ago, Comrades moved to 582

14 songs were added to the book, for a total of 611 tunes (not counting the two in the rudiments).

590 Every Grace
589 Gosia
195 Mars Hill Morning
594 National Blessings
269 Nightfall
504 North Jersey
504 Peterborough
520 Rest for the Soul
583 Savannah
591 Sweet Reunion
516 Tallahassee
586 Traveler's Rest - Samson
581 Wells Second
514 Wiley

Grab a book and let's sing!

Music in the News

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

* Before Churches Had Songbooks, There Was 'Lined-Out' Gospel -- "Deep in the hills of Appalachia, there's a mournful, beautiful style of church music that hasn't changed since the 18th century."
* ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ from the Coen brothers explores the inside world of contemporary folk music -- "Sitting down to talk with the filmmaking Coen brothers is like watching two master musicians trading riffs — signaling each other with little more than eye movement before the other takes over."
* Is folk music even possible anymore? -- "I’m talking about true folk music, songs that are created by and for a small, self-contained community, where musicians are performing for friends and neighbors in a style they all grew up with."
* Japanese Embrace Black Gospel Music -- "Historically, it's been difficult to share the gospel in through a music workshop, Japanese non-believers are learning to sing to the one true God."
* Shape-note singers host public “singing school” -- "The Shape-note singing student organization hosted a public singing session Saturday to introduce the tradition of shape-note singing to students and the general public."
* Singing Wells: Preserving Threatened Heritage -- "The Singing Wells is an international music project that aims at preserving and promoting musical traditions of East Africa, and does so in a remarkably refreshing way."
* “The Folk Revival, Country Music, and Social Justice” at ICMC 2014 -- "Each year, the ICMC presents topics of interest on bluegrass and traditional country music."
* Woody Guthrie: American Radical Patriot – review -- "Woody Guthrie was inducted into the US Army, wrote for a Communist party publication and composed songs attacking bankers."
* World's most expensive book sells for $14mn in New York -- "It's the first book printed in America and the first book written in America."

Friday, November 29, 2013

Quotes, slightly humorous and mostly true

"Oh, for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money." --  Unknown

“Be nice to your kids. They'll choose your nursing home.” -- My daughter

"Quit griping about your church; if it were perfect, you couldn't belong." -- Joseph P. Dooley

"If any American did privately what Congress does publicly -- take what belongs to one to give to another -- he'd be condemned as an ordinary thief." -- Walter Williams

“Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.” -- Oscar Wilde

“A man who just sits and thinks, mostly sits.” -- Woodrow Wilson

"Some minds are like concrete, thoroughly mixed up and permanently set." -- Denny Brake

“If at first you don't succeed; you are running about average.” -- M. H. Alderson

“Some days you're the pigeon; some days you're the statue.” -- Roger Anderson

"Do you know the three times that most people are in church? When they are hatched, matched and dispatched." -- Lowell B. Yoder

"The only reason a great many American families don't own an elephant is that they were never offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments." -- Mad Magazine

News and religion in links

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

* Code Talker says Redskins name not derogatory -- "A leader of the Navajo Code Talkers who appeared at a Washington Redskins home football game said Wednesday the team name is a symbol of loyalty and courage — not a slur as asserted by critics who want it changed."
Connecticut report: Motive still a mystery in Newtown elementary school massacre -- “A 48-page investigation of last year’s elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., concluded that the shooter acted alone and had 'significant mental health issues.'”
Elderly Connecticut twins were secret millionaires -- "During her lifetime, the former first grade teacher and her twin brother, Robert, amassed a fortune of nearly $10 million, much to the surprise of residents in their community of Simsbury, Connecticut."
* Federal judge: Clergy tax-free housing allowance is unconstitutional -- "A federal judge has ruled that an Internal Revenue Service exemption that allows clergy to shield a portion of their salary from federal income taxes is unconstitutional."
Longest Married Couple Celebrates 81st Anniversary -- "John and Ann Betar were married on November 25th 1932..."
* Nurse killed in hospital stabbing -- "Police say four other victims were injured in the attack - one is in critical condition, the other three in good condition."
* Rahab: Her Fib and Her Faith -- "Does the story of Rahab’s lie provide a biblical basis for situation ethics? Must Christians always tell the truth? Or is it sometimes right to lie?"
The Death of the Author: An Introduction to PoMo Interpretation -- "Is meaning person relative? Can we make the text mean whatever we want it to mean?"
When Is My Child Old Enough to Get Baptized? -- "...when a four-year-old responds to the prompting of her parents or the encouragement of her Sunday school teacher to accept Jesus into her heart, her positive answer pleases her parents or her teacher and is the proper reaction to their encouragement, but it may do little in terms of constituting a credible profession of faith."
* Worship on Earth as it is in Heaven: The Great Surprise -- "It seems that a lot of people are developing their theology exclusively out of the Pauline literature, over against a comprehensive Biblical theology.  What is so compelling about this text is that He is the object of worship in a book where the Apostle John is told by an angel, “Don’t worship me; worship God.”  No one but God is worshiped."
* Young people prefer printed books to e-books, survey finds -- "The British marketing research agency Voxburner recently surveyed more than 1,400 people, ages 16 to 24, about their media-consumption habits. The survey found that 62% of the respondents said they prefer printed books to e-books."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Some quotes for your Thanksgiving Day:

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." -- I Thessalonians 5:18

"Our rural ancestors, with little blest,
Patient of labour when the end was rest,
Indulged the day that housed their annual grain,
With feasts, and off'rings, and a thankful strain."
--Alexander Pope

“On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence.” -- William Jennings Bryan

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.” -- William Blake

“Gratitude takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. The grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience.” -- Thomas Merton

“Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now.” -- A.W. Tozer

“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.” -- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“God gave us minds to think with and hearts to thank with.” -- Douglas Wilson

“Gratitude is an attitude we should give wide latitude.” -- Copied

"Some hae meat and canna eat, -
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit."
--Robert Burns

"O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." -- Psalm 107:1

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Old song books online

A collection of online sources for 19th century shape note tunebooks, whether digital images or re-typesettings

* A Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony by Ananias Davisson
* Harmonia Ecclesiæ by Jesse B. Aikin
* Indian Melodies by Thomas Commuck
* Last Words, or Spirit Whispers by W. T. Dale
* Repository of Sacred Music and Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second by John Wyeth
* Songs for All by Edwin T. Pound (round notes, shape notes, Hood's notation, Fillmore's notation!)
* Songs for All, with Supplement by E. T. Pound
* Songs of Zion, by James P. Carrell
* The Art of Singing by Andrew Law
* The Beauties of Harmony by Freeman Lewis
* The Christian Lyre by Joshua Leavitt
* The Christian Minstrel by Jesse B. Aikin
* The Easy Instructor by William Little and William Smith
* The Harmonia Sacra by Joseph Funk
The Hesperian Harp by William Hauser
* The Minstrel of Zion by Samuel Wakefield
* The Missouri Harmony by Allen D. Carden
* The New Harp of Columbia by M. L. Swan
* The Ohio Harmonist by Alexander Auld
The Olive Leaf by William Hauser
* The Sacred Harp by B. F. White and E. J. King (1860)
* The Sacred Harp or Eclectic Harmony by Lowell and Timothy Mason
* The Social Harp by John Gordon McCurry
* The Southern Harmony by William Walker
* The Southern & Western Pocket Harmonist by William Walker
* The Starry Crown by A. S. Kieffer
* The Virginia Harmony by James P. Carrell
* Zion Songster by A. S. Kieffer

* Digital images of Original Sacred Harp songs (1960-1971) that were deleted in the 1991 Edition
* Original Sacred Harp by J. S. James
* Sacred Harp,  Cooper Book songs with unprinted bass runs
* The Harmony of Maine by Supply Belcher
* The Psalm-Singer's Amusement by William Billings

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Priesthood of Believers

A comment by Bart Barber on SBC Voices is instructive regarding the priesthood of believers versus the priesthood of the believer.
“Priesthood of THE believer” is utterly and entirely absent from the Bible. Every biblical reference to the priesthood of all believers is plural, not singular.
1 Peter 2:5 “you [plural…"y'all"] also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”1 Peter 2:9 “But you [plural…"y'all"] are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”Revelation 5:10 “You have made them [the believers, in plural, considered collectively] to be a kingdom and priests to our God.”
As Bart notes, the priesthood of THE believer has been used to support not being accountable to other believers, having a right of private interpretation of scripture which cannot be challenged, and there being no authority in the church. Moderate to liberal Baptists have used this as a sword to assault biblical inerrancy.

The latest in links

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

* An Appalling Betrayal of American Pastor Saeed Abedini -- "On the night of November 23, 2013, the President of the United States left an American pastor, Saeed Abedini, behind."
Dad films premature son's miraculous first year -- "Benjamin Scot and Lyndsey Miller's son was born three and a half months early and weighed just 1.5 pounds."
* Florida special election may showcase 'Obamacare' effect -- "The race to replace him is drawing national interest as a test battle for the party's warring messages over the Affordable Care Act."
* FFRF, Gaylor, Barker overturn ‘parsonage exemption’ clergy privilege -- “The law allowed 'ministers of the gospel' paid through a housing allowance to exclude that allowance from taxable income. Ministers may, for instance, use the untaxed income to purchase a home, and, in a practice known as 'double dipping,' may then deduct interest paid on the mortgage and property taxes.”
* estimates may be misleading -- " visitors using the site's window-shopping tool are repeatedly told that 'the final premium you pay may be lower, perhaps much lower, than the prices shown'...But what the site doesn't say is that the actual premium may be higher, perhaps much higher, than the estimated premiums shown on the site."
* Postal worker killed on duty in Maryland -- "Police say a postal worker has been shot to death while delivering mail about 10 miles from the nation's capital."
* School superintendent charged in Steubenville rape case inquiry -- "An Ohio school superintendent, two coaches and a principal were charged by a grand jury that investigated whether other laws were broken in the rape of a drunken 16-year-old girl by two football players..."

Monday, November 25, 2013

Relationship of baptism and the Lord's supper

In his blog post Some Thoughts on Open and Closed Communion, John Bellingham makes three interesting points about the relationship of baptism and the Lord's supper.

"1) Water Baptism precedes the Lord's Supper in the apostolic pattern...the order of events in Acts 2 does seem to lend considerable support to the practice of closed communion, viz.  Repentance (v. 38) --> Water Baptism (v. 38) --> Church Membership (v. 41) -->Lord's Supper (v. 42)."

"2) Water Baptism precedes the Lord's Supper in the order of their institution...Jesus instituted Water Baptism at the beginning of His earthly ministry and the Lord's Supper on the same night that He was betrayed."

"3) Water Baptism precedes the Lord's Supper in their doctrinal order...just as a baby must be born before she can eat and be nourished, so the ordinance symbolizing new spiritual life doctrinally precedes the ordinance symbolizing ongoing nourishment and sustenance.  To reverse this order is to confuse the doctrinal significance of these two ordinances."

Read the entire piece at the link above.

12 Links on communion

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

* A short defense of close communion
* Closed Communion: Scriptural Reasons Why a New Testament Church Should Commune Only with Its Own Members at the Lord's Table
Open Communion: WARNING!
* Paul’s rebuke of Peter as argument for open communion
* Some Thoughts on Open and Closed Communion
* Table Manners: On the Welcoming Catholicity of Closed Communion
* The Case for Close Communion
* Why Can't My Family Observe the Lord's Supper?
* Why We Practice “Open” Communion

Sunday, November 24, 2013

No Night on That Golden Shore

On page 486 of The Sacred Harp, Revised Cooper Edition, 2012 is a song titled No Night on That Golden Shore by A. S. (Aldine Silliman) Kieffer. Kieffer first published this in his book The Starry Crown in 1874.* He used slightly altered words from Charles Wesley's hymn "The City of God," and added a refrain to it. It appears in the "Cooper Book" this way:

1. O when shall we sweetly remove,
O when shall we enter our rest,
Return to the Zion above,
The mother of spirits distressed?
That City of God, the great King,
Where sorrow and death are no more,
Where saints our Immanuel sing,
And cherub and seraph adore.

2. But angels themselves cannot tell
The joy of that holiest place,
Where Jesus is pleased to reveal
The light of His heavenly face;
When caught in the rapturous flame,
The sight beatific they prove;
And walk in the light of the Lamb,
Enjoying the beams of His love.

There is no night on that golden shore;
There we shall suffer and sigh no more;
There shall the weary be ever blest,
Singing glad songs in the land of rest (the beautiful land of rest).

Below is the Wesley text, as it appears in Sacred Poetry: Selected from the works of the Rev. Charles Wesley, New York, NY: W. H. Kelley and Brother, 1864, p. 342

The City of God. Hebrews 12:22 Rev. 7:16,17. 8s.

1. O When shall we sweetly remove,
O when shall we enter our rest,
Return to the Sion above,
The mother of spirits distrest!
That city of God, the great King,
Where sorrow and death are no more;
But saints our Immanuel sing,
And cherub and seraph adore.

2. Not all the archangels can tell
The joys of that holiest place,
Where Jesus is pleased to reveal
The light of his heavenly face;
When caught in the rapturous flame,
The sight beatific they prove,
And walk in the light of the Lamb,
Enjoying the beams of his love.

3. Thou know'st, in the spirit of prayer,
We long thy appearing to see,
Resigned to the burden we bear,
But longing to triumph with thee:
'Tis good at thy word to be here,
'Tis better in thee to be gone,
And see thee in glory appear,
And rise to a share in thy throne.

4. To mourn for thy coming is sweet,
To weep at thy longer delay;
But thou, whom we hasten to meet,
Shalt chase all our sorrows away.
The tears shall be wiped from our eyes,
When thee we behold in the cloud,
And echo the joys of the skies,
And shout to the trumpet of God.

* Several other songs from The Starry Crown are found in the W. M. Cooper edition of The Sacred Harp: That Beautiful Land, The City of Light, The Sweet By and By, Unity, We Will Sing (A Place for Children). It also includes a tune, What Shall I Do, by Sacred Harp composer M. M. Wynne, and Lowell Mason's tune Shawmut, which is in the Denson edition of The Sacred Harp. [Thanks to Gaylon Powell for discovering the origin of these words with Charles Wesley.]

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Decline in anti-Semitic attitudes

* Anti-Semitic Attitudes in America Decline 3 Percent: But Deep-Seated Anti-Semitic Beliefs Linger -- “On the occasion of its centennial, the latest Anti-Defamation League (ADL) survey of the American people found that 12 percent of Americans harbor deeply entrenched anti-Semitic attitudes.” 

According to ADL, this is 3 percent decline in anti-Semitic attitudes since the League’s poll in 2011. Further, it is a 17% decline since ADL's first survey in 1964 (they then found that 29% of Americans held anti-Semitic views). The shows real change in American views toward the Jewish people, and yet, they “disturbing indicators remain.”

A misunderstanding of the views of evangelical and other Christians is disturbing to me. The ADL reports finding that “A surprisingly large number of Americans continue to believe that 'Jews were responsible for the death of Christ.' Twenty-six percent (26%) of Americans agreed with that statement, down from 31 percent in 2011.”

To equate believing Jews were responsible for the death of Christ with anti-Semitism is a mistake. Some people who believe that may be anti-Semitic, but the two beliefs are not equivalent. If I believe that soldiers were responsible for the death of my ancestor, I can accept that as an historical fact without hating them and their descendants. Believers of the New Testament must accept the role of the Jews in the death of Jesus Christ as an historical fact. But many Christians who believe the Jews are responsible for the death of Christ are some of the strongest supporters of Jews in general and the nation Israel in particular. These two things -- acknowledging the role of the Jews in the death of Christ and supporting the Jewish people -- are not mutually exclusive.

The question itself is too simplistic to cover theological nuances regarding the death of Christ. Not only did the Jews play a role in the death of Christ -- and the New Testament clearly states that (Cf. Acts 2:23; 3:13-15; 4:27-28; 7:51-53; 1 Thess. 2:14-15). But so did the Romans, as did you and I -- and even more so, God the Father and Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus was a "willing victim" (John 10:18; John 19:11). He laid down his life. No one took it from Him. God ordained His death for His people (Acts 2:23). Acts 4:27-28 is pretty inclusive of all players in their guilt. Christianity began with Jewish disciples following a Jewish Jesus, whom they believed was the Jewish Messiah. Other Jews rejected His Messiah-ship and labeled Jesus a blasphemer, worthy of death according to their law.

Understand that Jews having a part in the death of Christ in not necessarily anti-Semitism. Once we understand that, it may mean that anti-Semitism in America is even lower than the ADL supposes.

Today's links

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

* Chilling details in teacher's killing, Note found: 'I hate you all' -- "We are devastated and heartbroken by the details of the horrific circumstances surrounding the death of our beautiful daughter and sister, Colleen."
* Evolution debate again engulfs Texas board of ed "What Texas decides is important nationally since it is so large that many books prepared for publication in the state also are marketed elsewhere around the country."
* Pollution Suit Puts Chill on Popular Hot Sauce Sriracha -- "When Minneapolis donut chef Teresa Fox heard that Huy Fong Foods Inc., maker of Sriracha Asian-style hot sauce, might be forced to shut its factory near Los Angeles, she knew she needed to stock up."
* Special Report: The Church of Wells -- "I've heard people say that this group is going to take over the town...I don't think their goal is to take over a town."
The Top Five Reasons Your Church Could Land in Court -- "Two categories of cases declined last year, but one has significantly risen."
* When God isn't on the guest list -- "But apart from the non-church setting, the only hint at an deliberately non-religious wedding was contained within their vows and readings."

Friday, November 22, 2013

A fourfold experience of worship

Isaiah 6:1-8 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

In his book, Real Worship: Playground, Battleground, or Holy Ground? (p. 76) Warren Wiersbe writes, "Isaiah had a fourfold experience of worship, and in this sense, his experience relates to us today: he saw something--Christ in glory; he heard something--the heavenly praises; he felt something--conviction of sin and the cleansing power of God; and he did something--he volunteered for difficult service."

Wiersbe goes on to point out that:
* Isaiah saw something -- the Lord on his throne high and lifted up, verse 1: I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
* Isaiah heard something -- the voice of the seraphim praising God, verse 3: the cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
* Isaiah felt something -- uncleanness and cleansing, verses 5-7: Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips...Then flew one of the seraphims...and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
* Isaiah did something -- submitted to serve, verse 8: Then said I, Here am I; send me. 

Sounds like we could use a dose of experiencing worship like Isaiah did!

Plays on words, and such like

"A boiled egg is hard to beat."

"Anything unrelated to elephants is irrelephant." -- Unknown

“Denial is not just a river in Egypt.” -- Unknown (not by Mark Twain, but in use by 1936)

"Did you hear about the fellow whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now."

"I have kleptomania. When it gets bad, I take something for it."

"I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me."

"Police were called to a day care center. A 3-yr-old was resisting a rest."

"The thief who stole a calendar got twelve months."

"There was a man who entered a local paper's pun contest. He sent in ten different puns, in the hope that at least one of the puns would win. Unfortunately, no pun in ten did."

"Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."

"Would a fly without wings be called a walk?"

"Why do we have noses that run and feet that smell?

Acupuncture: a jab well done.

Beauty Parlor: a place where women curl up and dye.

Boss: someone who is early when you are late and late when you are early.

Compromise: the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everybody believes he got the biggest piece.

Egotist: someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.

Nurse: a person who wakes you up to give you sleeping pills.

Tact: the art of making guests feel at home when that's where you wish they were.

Yawn: an honest opinion openly expressed.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I wish

...that more Americans understood, believed, promoted and protected the concept of "free speech". I think we've forgotten the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which includes: "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech..."

Sure, the First Amendment doesn't justify shouting fire in a crowded theatre. It does not include the right to incite actions that would harm others (and other related things). But the freedom established by our Constitution is very broad -- and often annoying. There may be a "dictionary" full of words and ideas that I don't want to hear. The fact that I don't want to hear them doesn't mean they can't be said. The same right gives me the freedom to respond to, contradict and disprove what has been said. Rather than use this method of interactive free speech, we are entering an era when many simply bully the speaker into submission rather than respond to what is spoken. Those who have no answer often resort to the gnashing of teeth, stopping of ears, and throwing of stones (all in not tolerating intolerance).

Acts Chapter 7 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth...they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him...

The news that is

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

* Can Obama keep campaign promise on Afghanistan?  -- "President Barack Obama’s credibility, stretched thin by the broken promise of Obamacare, may soon face another difficult test: explaining how his promise to end the war in Afghanistan squares with leaving thousands of U.S. and NATO troops there."
* Costco in Simi Valley labels Bibles as fiction; pastor disagrees -- "Caleb Kaltenbach, pastor of Discovery Church, came across the Bibles while shopping for a gift and tweeted the picture on Friday with the comment: 'Costco has Bibles for sale under the genre of FICTION Hmmmm...'"
* Florida Republican Representative Radel admits cocaine possession -- "A Drug Enforcement Administration official said Radel bought cocaine in a Washington, D.C., neighborhood on Oct. 29. Later that night, federal authorities went to his apartment and informed him that he would be facing criminal charges."
* McCaughey septuplets turn 16 -- "The McCaughey septuplets — the first septuplets in the world all known to have survived infancy — turned 16 today. And they want to drive as soon as possible."
* Nacogdoches, employees saying good bye to iconic Hotel Fredonia -- "In all, 90 employees hired and laid off by Hotel Fredonia..."
* Liberty University Student Killed In Dorm Shooting -- "The warrant states that Hathaway approached the security officer, claiming that 'he had been robbed and someone stole his vehicle,' but then 'pulled out a hammer from his clothing and assaulted the officer.'"
* Obamacare ‘success story’ says she can’t afford new health plan -- "During a White House Rose Garden ceremony on Oct. 21, Obama read an email from Sanford in which she thanks the president for offering her help in obtaining a low-cost, high-quality coverage plan...However, CNN reports that in the days following Obama's Rose Garden ceremony Sanford received a letter telling her that her tax credit had been taken away, meaning she won’t be able to afford coverage. Officials reportedly told her that they made a mistake in calculating her benefits."
* Obama was briefed in spring on widespread website problems -- "President Barack Obama, who has portrayed himself as surprised by technical problems with the government's new health care website, was briefed last spring on a detailed consultant's report that warned of system failure, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Tuesday."
* Pennyslvania Methodist pastor suspended 30 days for officiating gay wedding -- "The jury told him he must “discern his newly discovered calling to the LGBT community” and surrender his credentials if he decides he can’t uphold all of the church’s Book of Discipline."
* Why a Lesbian Lawmaker Voted Against Hawaii's Same-Sex Marriage Bill -- "...a Hawaii state representative has caused waves for becoming the first openly gay lawmaker to vote against a state's same-sex marriage bill."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

17 evidences of the apostleship of Matthias

God by the Spirit records the selection of Matthias as an apostle without any hint of condemnation (Acts 1:15-26). Immediately thereafter he functions in that capacity, again without a hint of condemnation.

Some emphasize that Matthias is never mentioned again after chapter 1 of Acts. Along with most of the twelve, he is not mentioned by name. But his actions and ministry ARE recorded on numerous occasions!

1. Matthias was filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). 
2. Matthias stood up with the twelve on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14).
3. Matthias, along with the other apostles, was questioned after Peter’s proclamation of the gospel (Acts 2:37). 
4. Those who were saved and baptized continued steadfastly in the doctrine and fellowship of Matthias and the other apostles (Acts 2:42). 
5. Matthias, along with the other apostles, performed wonders and signs (Acts 2:43; 5:12).
6. Matthias, along with the other apostles, witnessed the resurrection with great power (Acts 4:33).
7. Matthias, along with the other apostles, received and distributed the common goods of all the disciples (Acts 4:34-37). 
8. Matthias, along with the other apostles, was arrested and jailed by the high priest and the Sadducees (Acts 5:18).
9. Matthias, with Peter and the other apostles, answered the council of priests (Acts 5:29).
10. Matthias, along with the other apostles, was beaten for his faith and adjured to not preach Jesus (Acts 5:40). 
11. Matthias, along with the other apostles, summoned the disciples to resolve the complaint concerning distribution to the Grecian widows (Acts 6:2). 
12. Matthias, along with the other apostles, laid hands on the seven men charged with the task of the widows’ tables (Acts 6:6). 
13. Matthias, along with the other apostles, remained at Jerusalem under great persecution (Acts 8:1).
14. Matthias, along with the other apostles, sent Peter and John to view the work of Philip at Samaria (Acts 8:14). 
15. Matthias participated in receiving Saul (Paul) when he was introduced by Barnabas (Acts 9:27). 
16. Matthias and other apostles heard Peter had preached to the Gentiles (Acts 11:1).
17. Matthias, along with the other apostles and the whole church, reached a decision at Jerusalem concerning the Gentiles’ relationship to the church (Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23, 16:4).

Word of the Year 2013

According to CNN, "The most esteemed guardian of the English language has bestowed a prestigious honor upon debatably the most embarrassing phenomenon of the digital age: the selfie."

selfie noun, informal (also selfy; plural selfies): "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website"

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013 was named yesterday -- selfie. "The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a word or expression that has attracted a great deal of interest during the year to date. Language research conducted by Oxford Dictionaries editors reveals that the frequency of the word selfie in the English language has increased by 17,000% since this time last year."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

9 Reasons Matthias was not an apostle: stated and answered

1. The Lord told His disciples to wait until the coming of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49). Wait is not the same as “don’t do anything at all.” Following the Scriptures was not a violation of waiting in Jerusalem. And in fact, they were in Jerusalem when the selection occurred.
2. The Lord did not instruct His disciples to replace Judas. This is an assumption based on silence. By silence we can assume that the Lord did not instruct His disciples to replace Judas and Peter just dreamed up the idea, or that the Lord brought it to Peter’s mind in the post-resurrection instructions, through the Spirit, and/or through the Word. The facts that Luke records should outweigh our assumptions.
3. The disciples/apostles had never chosen other apostles before this. The original twelve disciples were chosen by Jesus Himself. In itself this is an irrelevant objection. There was never a reason to choose other apostles before this time.
4. The selection of Matthias was held before Pentecost, before the Holy Spirit had come upon them.  The Holy Spirit had already been breathed on these men (John 20:22).
5. The selection of Matthias occurred in what was still technically Old Testament time. The New Testament time begins with the announcement of Jesus, not the day of Pentecost. See Mark 1:1, et al.
6. The selection of Matthias was completed by casting lots. This practice was an Old Testament practice for discovering God’s will (Lev. 16:8-10; Prov. 16:33). This was also a New Testament practice for discovering God’s will – at least this once – as evidenced in Acts 1! One cannot simply exclude something because he doesn’t like it.
7. Matthias is never mentioned again in the Scriptures. But he is! Though not by name. He is mentioned in Acts 2:14 and Acts 6:2, for example. All the apostles are mentioned numerous times as “the apostles” but only are few of them are mentioned by name in the book of Acts or the rest of the New Testament. Such an indictment against Matthias’ apostleship would indict the office of the majority of the twelve apostles.
8. Luke mentions “the eleven” instead “the twelve” in Acts 2:14. Not until Paul was chosen were there again 12 apostles. This is wrong on several counts. First, in Acts 2:14, Peter plus eleven more apostles makes a total of twelve. Second, the twelve are mentioned in Acts 6:2, before Paul was called on the road to Damascus. In fact the apostles are mentioned about 20 times between Acts 1 and Acts 9, with never the least hint that Matthias is not an apostle. Third, James (Gal. 1:19) and Barnabas (Acts 14:4,14), who are also called apostles, were chronologically prior to Paul.
9. Paul was the twelfth apostle and therefore Matthias could not be. Paul was hand picked by Christ to be an apostle. The first statement is circular reasoning, pure and simple, merely assuming what is to be proven. The second is a true statement that does not address the first. Chronologically Paul was not the “twelfth” apostle – not even the thirteenth or fourteenth. James and Barnabas were chronologically prior to Paul.


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

* Cheney sisters feud over gay marriage -- "Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Wyoming, said on 'Fox News Sunday' that she opposes same-sex marriage."
* Children Caregivers Face Difficult Challenges -- "There are approximately 1.4 million young people in the country between the ages of 8 and 18 caring for an ailing parent or relative."
* From getting rid of facial moles to pinning back big ears, how bullied children are now resorting to plastic surgery -- "Being bullied over physical looks, while not new, continues to be a common part of childhood. But children - and their protective parents - are now going to extreme lengths to avoid it altogether."
* Macon pastor Teddy Parker Jr reportedly commits suicide following service -- "He entered the ministry when he was 22 and was ordained at Fellowship Bible Baptist Church, 431 Dunbar Road, Warner Robins, where he also taught Sunday school and served as a youth pastor, the church's website states."
* Minivan Stop Turns to Wild Chase for Mom, Kids -- "As back-up arrives, Ferrell and her family are locked inside. The officer takes his baton and starts to break the windows of the van as he tries to get the family out of the car."
* Pennsylvania pastor pleads not guilty in church trial -- "A United Methodist minister who officiated at his son's same-sex wedding has pleaded not guilty to charges that he broke his pastoral vows."
* Scholastic Says Sorry for Leaving Israel Off Kids' Book Map -- "While Sudan, Libya and Saudi Arabia appear clearly on the map, the location of Israel is completely covered by Jordan..."
* South Dakota mom's blog about bullying draws praise, ire -- "Metz said she doesn't condone violence but also doesn't think parents should let their kids shut down when someone's mean to them. It's a philosophy she said she and her husband, Matt Metz, learned from their parents and are using on their own boys."

Monday, November 18, 2013

The 12th Apostle

Was Paul or Matthias the 12th apostle? This is a curious debate that is very important to some folks. Whose name will be on the foundation of the walls of the holy city (Revelation 21:14)? This debate raises the question of whether Matthias was legitimately chosen, or if Paul was God's intended "twelfth apostle".

The selection of Matthias, Acts 1:15-26
And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

The apostles had the Spirit. They had been instructed by Christ. They had the Scriptures. The writer Luke, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, never gives the least hint that anything is amiss. The 120 disciples were all in accord both before and after the selection of Matthias, and God poured out His Spirit on these united disciples. Matthias was numbered with the twelve, and is so numbered by divine inspiration by Luke in Acts and by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.

One thing that could make this debate look almost silly is the fact that at least 19 men, and possibly as many as 23, are called apostles in the New Testament. Both Matthias and Paul were legitimate apostles, as were Barnabas and James. This is not an "either/or" question.

Some have pointed out that the term “the twelve” is used as a collective term -- that is, whether there were always twelve or not (whether existing or present), the apostles as a group were designated “the twelve.” That is correct, though the anti-Matthias crowd often ignore that when convenient. John 20:24 is a good example of “the twelve” used as a collective designation. On one occasion after the resurrection “...Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.” Even though there were actually only ten disciples at that time—since Thomas was not with them and Judas was dead—they were still “the twelve.” In contrast, some of the "anti-Matthias" order point out that 1 Corinthians 15:5 and 8 are “clearly sequential” -- that is, only dealing with the chronological a sequence of events and do not speak to Matthias' apostleship. In order of time, Jesus He appeared to “the twelve” and then later in time to Paul. What must be noticed, though, is that Paul clearly does not include himself in this “collective term” either after the resurrection or at the time he is writing.

Paul did not assume the apostleship or office of Judas Iscariot, but had his own unique apostleship. Rather than get from the text that there is something defective in Matthias' apostleship, we must start with that assumption and read it into the text. This view rests more on assumption than Scriptural evidence. The fact of the matter is that Matthias was chosen, not Paul, and no hint to the contrary is ever given.

Random linkings

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

* "Against the Tide' Documentary tells story of Alabama's most important game -- "Sam Cunningham did more to integrate Alabama in 60 minutes than Martin Luther King did in 20 years."
* Car-a-mel or Car-mel? 3 Reasons for Syllabically Ambiguous Words -- "What’s more interesting than fighting about who’s right is understanding why these differences arise. There are three processes that result in syllabically ambiguous words."
* Church Authority: Limited and Specific -- “It is...disturbing when those who call themselves 'Baptists' claim that Christ’s absolute authority has been transferred to the church.”
* Is There a New Testament Pattern for Church Leadership? -- "While I believe the New Testament is almost devoid of specifics in terms of prescriptions for church leadership, there is enough consistency in the descriptive passages that seem to indicate God’s leading on this most important issue."
* Mount Olive Baptist Church, Berea, Ashley County, AR -- "Mount Olive Baptist Church in the Berea community of northeast Ashley County, Arkansas, was active for some one hundred years, spanning from 1859 to the late 1950s."
* Should You Ask a Question? -- Should you ask your question in class or at a seminar? The best answer!
* Why is Calvinism so influential and not Lutheranism? -- "There are lots more Lutherans than Calvinists. And Calvinism has all of those scary doctrines like double predestination and the limited atonement, whereas Lutheranism is, well, happier, with its emphasis on the certainty of grace, Christian freedom, and its affirmation of the secular realm as God’s hidden kingdom. And yet it’s Calvinism that has been so influential in English and American Christianity and the culture as a whole."
* Why My Kids Are NOT the Center of My World -- "How do you think Billy is going to cope in the real world, when his boss gives him a vague task to complete, and offers no helpful information as to how to complete this task?  Mr. Boss is certainly not going to hold Billy's hand and help him through the task."

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Baptist Fools

Concerning Baptist Polity and Baptist Fools

Q. Under your denominational polity, if every man may think, talk, and act for himself, what do you do with your fools?

A. In the first place it must be admitted that there are some Baptist fools, or rather, some fools who are Baptists. It’s really a strong point for us, that it does not take very much sense to be a Baptist, for the essential things in the New Testament are as simple as Divinity can make them, and wonderfully well adapted to people at small understanding. I would not be disposed to admit that we have more (fools) than other denominations in proportion, but I would stoutly maintain that we came honestly by all that we have. We got them by preaching the simple gospel to simple people. And that is the finest thing any people in the world ever engaged in. It must be admitted that the Baptist fool is rather unhandy. But take him all around, down to the bottom, there is more solid New Testament wisdom in him that in continental conferences of men, who are full of the wisdom of the world and know little of the wisdom which emanates from the source of all light, the Holy Scriptures.

J. B. Gambrell; The Baptist Standard, July 1908

Linking about evolution and other things

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

* A Mathematician's View of Evolution -- "I know a good many mathematicians, physicists and computer scientists who, like me, are appalled that Darwin's explanation for the development of life is so widely accepted in the life sciences."
* Institute for Creation Research -- A website devoted to creation research
* Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity -- "Christianity, when it is taken seriously, compels its adherents to engage the world, not retreat from it. "
* Mathematicians and Evolution -- "It seems to require many thousands, perhaps millions, of successive mutations to produce even the easiest complexity we see in life now. It appears, naively at least, that no matter how large the probability of a single mutation is, should it be even as great as one-half, you would get this probability raised to a millionth power, which is so very close to zero that the chances of such a chain seem to be practically non-existent."
* The Green Heron and Evolution -- "When the green heron catches the fish, it flips it to swallow the fish head first. This protects the heron's throat from the fish's fins and scales."
* The Mathematical Impossibility Of Evolution -- "...consider a very simple putative organism composed of only 200 integrated and functioning parts, and the problem of deriving that organism by this type of process."

On campus
* California College Forbids Passing Out Constitutions...On Constitution Day -- "In a stunning illustration of the attitude taken towards free speech by too many colleges across the United States, Modesto Junior College in California told a student that he could not pass out copies of the United States Constitution outside the student center on September 17, 2013—Constitution Day."
* DePaul University: Student Punished For Exposing Vandals of Pro-Life Display -- "Several students vandalized the display, removing flags and throwing them in the trash."
* Speech Code of the Month: Salem State University -- "While the intentions behind this policy are good, its overly broad language subjects large amounts of constitutionally protected speech and expression—including core political speech—to punishment."

Saturday, November 16, 2013

When the Saviour Speaks

When the Savior speaks to a sinner dead in trespasses and sins, He speaks with…
A loud voice that cannot be missed (John 11:43).A powerful voice that cannot be resisted — “The voice of the Lord is powerful: the voice of the Lord is full of majesty!” (John 11:44; Psalm 29:3-11)A still small voice that no one hears but the one called (1 Kings 19:9-14).A sweet, loving, winning voice that causes the one called to arise and seek the Lord (Song of Solomon 5:2).A personal voice that causes the one called to know he is called (Luke 19:5).
I ran across and copied this somewhere awhile back, and now do not know or remember the source.