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3.01.2008

goodbye blog

Well, for a variety of reasons I've decided that it's now time to shut down this blog. It's been a good ride. Thanks to those of you who are faithful readers. The site will stay up and the links will remain, but I will no longer be posting. Here are some other blogs that I'd recommend (you'll have more than enough to read with these).

Reformissionary
Between Two Worlds
Desiring God Blog
Challies Dot Com
Tim Chester
As a Blog Returns to its Vomit
Pastor Joe Thorn
Stealing a Moment...
Kacey Luvi Makeup and Photography
Mars Hill Mission & Vision

2.11.2008

grudem on law, politics, & gov't part 4

I am currently taking a course with Dr. Wayne Grudem called "Biblical Theology of Law, Politics & Government." This is a series of posts with reactions and lessons from that class.

Wow, I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since I posted. Time flies. Last time I posted related to the Grudem class, I asked the question, "Is the founding of our "Christian" nation actually built on disobedience to God's word? Why or why not?"

In this post I'll share Dr. Grudem's response. For what it's worth, I find it a plausible but unsatisfactory answer.

In short, Dr. Grudem's answer was that the signers of the Declaration of Independence viewed themselves as also being an authority put in place by God at the local level. These leaders were then left with an option: 1) obey King George and allow him to hurt the people or 2) revolt against King George in order to serve and protect the people under their care.

This is along the lines of what Jason wrote in his comment on the previous post:

If my memory serves me, the colonies for many years were largely self ruling. They elected their own gov'ts in some colonies. The English had a fairly well developed theory of gov't that said that the power of gov't ultimately resided in the people, not the king...

In this circumstance, the founders believed that THEY were the authority instituted by God. England was the one attempting to destroy their legitimate authority, and they were resisting that attempt. From the perspective of a common American, the King George III wasn't the ONLY authority. The colonists had been electing their own gov'ts for years, free from significant interference by England. So which authority do you submit to? King George, who claims the colonies are essentially the property of England? Or your fellow colonists, who claim that the power of the gov't resides in the people?

This is a plausible argument, however I am historically unclear on the degree to which the signers of the Declaration were viewed as a civil authority other than the authority they asserted in leading a revolution. If you have insights on this, particularly backed up by history, it would be great to see them as I am quite ignorant of this aspect.

Tell me what you think. Is this a good enough solution?

grudem on law, politics, & gov't part 4

I am currently taking a course with Dr. Wayne Grudem called "Biblical Theology of Law, Politics & Government." This is a series of posts with reactions and lessons from that class.

Wow, I can't believe it's been almost two weeks since I posted. Time flies. Last time I posted related to the Grudem class, I asked the question, "Is the founding of our "Christian" nation actually built on disobedience to God's word? Why or why not?"

In this post I'll share Dr. Grudem's response. For what it's worth, I find it a plausible but unsatisfactory answer.

In short, Dr. Grudem's answer was that the signers of the Declaration of Independence viewed themselves as also being an authority put in place by God at the local level. These leaders were then left with an option: 1) obey King George and allow him to hurt the people or 2) revolt against King George in order to serve and protect the people under their care.

This is along the lines of what Jason wrote in his comment on the previous post:

If my memory serves me, the colonies for many years were largely self ruling. They elected their own gov'ts in some colonies. The English had a fairly well developed theory of gov't that said that the power of gov't ultimately resided in the people, not the king...

In this circumstance, the founders believed that THEY were the authority instituted by God. England was the one attempting to destroy their legitimate authority, and they were resisting that attempt. From the perspective of a common American, the King George III wasn't the ONLY authority. The colonists had been electing their own gov'ts for years, free from significant interference by England. So which authority do you submit to? King George, who claims the colonies are essentially the property of England? Or your fellow colonists, who claim that the power of the gov't resides in the people?

This is a plausible argument, however I am historically unclear on the degree to which the signers of the Declaration were viewed as a civil authority other than the authority they asserted in leading a revolution. If you have insights on this, particularly backed up by history, it would be great to see them as I am quite ignorant of this aspect.

What do you think? Is this a good enough solution?

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1.31.2008

denomination joke

From EVBC Pastor Bill Hartley...I got a big kick out of this...

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump. I ran over and said: "Stop. Don't do it."

"Why shouldn't I?" he asked.

"Well, there's so much to live for!"

"Like what?"

"Are you religious?"

He said, "Yes."

I said, "Me too. Are you Christian or Buddhist?"

"Christian."

"Me too. Are you Catholic or Protestant?"

"Protestant."

"Me too. Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"

"Baptist."

"Wow. Me too. Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"

"Baptist Church of God."

"Me too. Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"

"Reformed Baptist Church of God."

"Me too. Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?"

He said: "Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915."

I said: "Die, heretic scum," and pushed him off.

1.29.2008

grudem on law, politics, & gov't, part 3 - a great question

I am currently taking a course with Dr. Wayne Grudem called "Biblical Theology of Law, Politics & Government." This is a series of posts with reactions and lessons from that class.

One of the most interesting questions in this class so far has come from reading Romans 13 and the Declaration of Independence. Read the following passages, check out the question, and then go ahead and post your response.

Romans 13:1-2
1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
The Declaration of Independence
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
The question, then, is this: Is the founding of our "Christian" nation actually built on disobedience to God's word? Why or why not?

Before I tell you what Dr. Grudem said, I'd love for you to weigh in.

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1.28.2008

grudem on law, politics, & gov't, part 2

I am currently taking a course with Dr. Wayne Grudem called "Biblical Theology of Law, Politics & Government." This is a series of posts with reactions and lessons from that class.

Romans 13 and the Purpose of Government
The clearest biblical text regarding the purpose of government is found in Romans 13:1-7 (Grudem is even having us memorize it).

1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

What, according to this passage, is the purpose of civil government? Dr. Grudem gives the following comments:

1. God has appointed these rulers (v. 2)

2. They are a terror to bad conduct, meaning they are to restrain evil (v. 3)

3. They give praise (Gk. "approval, recognition") for doing what is good (v. 3). An example might be tax incentives for charitable donations or having children.

4. They serve God (v. 4)

5. They are doing good (v. 4)

6. They execute God's wrath on wrongdoers (v. 4)

The interesting thing about this passage is that it does not necessarily assume that the government will be one that people enjoy or appreciate all that much. Thus, there is a need to "be subject" (v. 1). There's no need to submit to a government you like--it only becomes submission when you have disagreements. At the time of Paul's writing, Nero was emperor in Rome. While it is likely that Romans was written prior to Nero's most heinous persecution of Christians, it is significant that Paul is giving these instructions in a situation that is probably difficult and tough to submit to. Nonetheless, God has purposes for the rulers he puts into power.

Okay, that's all for today...but stay tuned...I think you'll find the next discussion pretty interesting.

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1.23.2008

grudem on law, politics, & gov't, part 1

As mentioned in a previous post, I am currently taking a course with Dr. Wayne Grudem called "Biblical Theology of Law, Politics & Government." It is fascinating, especially with the Presidential election fast approaching.

In a series of posts, I intend to post some key lessons from particular classes, as well as some of my reactions and thoughts. For now, here are the books that we're reading:

John Grafton, The Declaration of Independence and Other Great Documents of America. This short book includes the Declaration, Constitution, and key speeches by Patrick Henry, James Madison, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and others. Takes me back to fifth grade social studies.


Gregory Boyd, The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power is Destroying the Church. Boyd is an evangelical pastor in Minnesota (though he is an open theist) who takes a more pacifist position and believes that preaching the Gospel, not political involvement is the best way to reshape culture.


Tom Minnery, Why You Can't Stay Silent: A Biblical Mandate to Shape Our Culture. Minnery is Vice President of Public Policy for Focus on the Family. Thus, he is also evangelical but more politically conservative. This book and Boyd's are opposite sides of the same issue.



Gregg Jackson, Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies. Jackson is co-host of Pundit Review Radio and editor at PunditReview.com. He's very politically conservative.




Jim Wallis, God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It. Wallis is also an evangelical that, like Boyd, takes a pacifist position in terms of Christian involvement with politics. This book and Jackson's tend to clash.

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1.21.2008

back from the men's retreat

Well, the prayers that I asked you to pray in the previous post were answered! We had a wonderful men's retreat--it was a refreshing time for all of us. Tim Maughan had some wonderful insights and exhortations from God's word. He challenged us with the radical grace of the Gospel (the idea that because of Jesus' death for us, God will never love us more or less than he does now), some basics on manhood, and with a call for running a race of endurance and finishing strong. The guys sang loud, enjoyed each other's company, and prayed with passion. It was a real treat to be part of it.