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Monday, April 27, 2009

Not too barbed

I see that one of the blots we report has got airplay on one of the blogs we also report.
Check it here.

Two of our members have had a go at the Blogging Parsnip for his blog on fundamentalists. Watcher takes it further. We all wonder why the Parsnip didn't.

All down to the speed of the net and late night reading!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Margaret Thatcher on Creation

Caught this at Frontpagemag the other day:

The Religious Left will never quote her, but Margaret Thatcher outclassed Brueggemann when she articulated Christianity's stance towards economics in her 1988 speech to the Church of Scotland. "We are told we must work and use our talents to create wealth," she
recalled of the Scriptures, citing St.Paul's admonition:, "If a man will not work he shall not eat." She observed: "Abundance rather than poverty has a legitimacy which derives from the very nature of Creation."

Now, if she meant by creation theistic evolution, we'd have socialism of course: because that's what attention to Darwin in political life has often lead to: and clearly spelt out, of course.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Did Darwin Kill God?

Cop this great quote from Science and Values blog: Did Darwin Kill God?

Peter Harrison, an Oxford Professor of theology, has also argued that the Protestant commitment to reading scripture literally actually enabled science to get going because the reformers then read creation literally, and not symbolically as had been the case in the past. Cunningham failed to mention this evidence, nor those Christians such as the Wesley’s and Luther who argued for a literal interpretation of Genesis in history.

We've mentioned Harrison a few times on this blog, but he's always worth another mention, particularly for the historial illiterates who claim that as its not a science text book, the book of Genesis has nothing to do with modern science. People, taking Genesis seriously underpins modern science and is arguably is primarily causal!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Leupold Genesis part 12 rebuttal of g-w hypothesis

The seemingly formidable argument from vocabulary, separate and distinct vocabularies for the four source documents--especially where long lists of words appear used only in the one document--this argument we say loses its imposing character when we discern on what ground it is built. Leaving J and E aside because the argument carries little convincing weight under this head, we notice what happens in the case of P and D. Everything of a priestly legislative character is primarily assigned to P as well as everything that is presented after a more or less formal pattern like Gen. I as well as summaries. From these portions primarily deductions are made as to P's vocabulary. Naturally quite a substantial list results. Then other passages in the Pentateuch that use these distinctive terms are stamped as coming from P, whenever possible. Note how in the last analysis in legislative portions like Leviticus, where matters of priestly interest certainly predominate, a distinctive vocabulary has to be used and can very readily be listed. The fact of the matter really is not that a different writer is at work but that the same writer is dealing with an entirely different subject. No man can write a law book with the vocabulary of a book on history. From another point of view the argument practically amounts to this that one man could not write E or J and also P, because one man could not write both history and law. In like manner D's style, which is supposed to involve "a long development of the art of public oratory," covers the major part of the book of Deuteronomy as well as of later books whenever they con, in hortatory passages after the manner of Deuteronomy. One can quite readily build up a separate vocabulary out of such sections. In the final analysis this is tantamount to saying that Moses could not have written such admonitions and exhortations as well as laws and history. The critics operate on the assumption that such flexibility of style is beyond the range of the capabilities of one man.

The other peculiarities that these major sources are supposed to display are most readily understood on the following assumption: take any longer work and divide it up into four portions on the basis of an approach that groups kindred things together, and the resultant four parts will naturally each have something distinctive.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Like Water for Chocolate

I couldn't believe this. An anglican church on the north shore of Sydney has on its notice board the great news that it will be door knocking the local area to give out Easter eggs!

Sorry Michael (that's the rector) Darrell Lea has already made that connection with Sydney.

I can see it now...'oh wow, the church is dropping off chocolate eggs, now its really connecting with my deepest needs'

Another dull idea from Connect09...Connect..oh dear!

Atheism’s Plagiarism

Outright atheism, certainly in its modern incarnation, has always had a minority following (see &, despite its adherents' claims to the contrary. The atheist complains that open disavowal of God’s existence was not only proscribed but was met with painful, and often deadly, punishment. While there is some truth to this - though an exaggerated and emotionally-charged polemic is pushed forward - it is more true that formerly people in all likelihood were less likely to jettison their commonsense. The ordinary ploughboy was eminently qualified to reason from the physical world, to its being a perspicuously created order, to a Creator. Today people are less capable because the contemporary “intellectual” environment is vociferously weighted toward a naturalistic, evolutionary worldview. This Stratonician attitude “comprehends” the way things are by means of a worldview in which on a priori philosophical grounds any actual or theoretical involvement by God is excluded. Of course, a presumption of Stratonician atheism is logically unwarranted because it is just that, a preconception or bias.

The real intellectual battle is whether or not excluding God can, in the least, explain how life came to be. Undeniably evolution is the atheist’s major tool in her apologist’s arsenal for this task. Evolution historically relies on Stratonician atheism, Sydney Anglican Diocese remonstration notwithstanding that evolution is God’s way of doing things because “science” has demonstrated this. (Boy, talk about getting one’s scientific apples mixed up with religion’s oranges!) But I digress from my purpose.

Arguably the most common explanation why atheism is so conspicuous in modern times is that it is a Christian heresy: it could only emerge from, and is a reaction to, the ubiquity of Christian thought. Genuine ancient atheism is probably and more accurately described as agnosticism. In any case, it never gained anywhere near the popularity of its modern incarnation and certainly did not devote its energies on solely promoting a view of a cosmos sans God.

That our modern atheism parasites off Christianity is humorously seen in its latest indefatigable program plastered prominently on the sides of British buses. The ‘Probably no God’ campaign wasn’t an original idea but one that derived its existence from comedy writer Ariane Sherine’s spotting a Christian message on the side of a bus. This spurred her to raise close to half a million dollars on an indulgent campaign. Ironically, the verse that Sherine saw was a misunderstanding of a critical comment Christ made against believers. Correctly comprehended it would have lent powerful support to atheists’ accurate assessment that Christians frequently sanctimoniously self-promote.

In the Gospel according to Luke, this doctor-historian wrote that the Creator stated, “[Nevertheless w]hen the son of man comes, will he really find faith on the earth?” Christ immediately follows up with the parable about the self-effacing tax collector and the self-righteous religious authority. His disciples then tried to prevent children from accessing him and were rebuked for this. Christ’s message was that we, as Christians, have got to be ever so aware that we do not indulge in self-promotion, that we in fact do not end up turning the Gospel on its head by having our “righteousness” replace his. This “death” of self, may I suggest, is the faith Christ queried would be found when he returns. It is the type of faith that derives from that never-ceasing battle Christians should wage internally against themselves: pride in their own righteousness.

Sherine and the atheists missed an opportunity to bring our communities a little closer to each other. After all, regardless of our differences, one thing is sure: we both have a common origin. The question is which is the true answer, the atheist’s pond scum or God’s love for all of us?

BTW, to all our atheist friends, have a joyous Easter and thank Christ for those penalty rates or the day off.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Question for Biblical Creationists, Sydney Anglican Diocese and Church of England - "Why Were Our Reformers Burned?"

Why were our Reformers burned?

The question was raised by Bishop J. C. Ryle in his book "Light From Old Times" published in 1890. In fact, he devoted a whole chapter to the question.

In general, those Reformers burned at the stake were resistant to the Church of England going back from where it came - to Roman Catholicism. The time was the reign of Queen Mary, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Arragon. Mary (or "Bloody Mary") had been brought up a staunch Roman Catholic. Upon ascendancy to the Crown she set about bringing down all that had been achieved by the Reformers.

It was not enough to change the order of services, reinstate the Mass, banish foreign Protestants from England and prohibit the writings of key Reformers. From early 1555 Protestants were targeted and, under threat to life, were ordered to recant principles of the Reformation. There was staunch resistance and, while statistics vary, a conservative count shows 288 Protestants were burned at the stake between 1555 and 1558 for refusing to recant.

In his chapter "Why Were Our Reformers Burned?" Bishop Ryle looks at leading Reformers of the day to answer the question for all. John Rogers, Anglican Minister in London; John Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester; Rowland Taylor, Rector of Hadleigh; Robert Ferar, Bishop of St David's, Wales; John Bradford, Chaplain to Bishop Ridley; Nicholas Ridley, Bishop of London; Hugh Latimer, once Bishop of Worcester; John Philpot, Archdeacon of Winchester; Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury; are each examined.

Each may have had additional charges pertaining to the Reformation laid against them but, according to Bishop Ryle, "The principal reason why they were burned was because they refused one of the peculiar doctrines of the Romish Church. On that doctrine, in almost every case, hinged their life or death. If they admitted it they might live; if they refused it, they must die."

The doctrine in question was the real presence [transubstantiation] of the body and blood of Christ in the consecrated elements of bread and wine in the Lord's Supper."

If the Reformers declared that our Lord Jesus Christ was bodily present in the bread and wine they would live. If they refused they were burned by faggot.

In an act he later regretted, Thomas Cranmer recanted but such was the hatred of his enemies toward him that they went ahead with his burning. This afforded Cranmer a glorious opportunity to triumph for he withdrew his recantation and thrust the hand with which he signed the recantation into the flame while uttering the words "This unworthy right hand." He then steadily lifted his left hand toward heaven. Bishop Ryle also provides as a footnote a comment attested by Soames and other historians that "when the fire had had burned down to ashes, Cranmer's heart was found unconsumed and uninjured."

Transubstantiation or Real Presence - why were the Reformers so dogged in rejecting it, even to death? After all, isn't the Gospel all that matters and isn't Romans 10:9 ("That if you confess with mouth, 'Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.") a summary of that Gospel? Isn't it possible that Jesus Christ, our Creator in Spirit and Flesh could somehow be bodily present in the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper - remember when amongst His disciples he turned a small amount of bread into a multitude of bread and, on another occasion, turned mere water into fermented wine. Couldn't He do something mighty and beyond earthly understanding with the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper? Why get hung up on a point such as this? Wouldn't it have been better for peace and harmony to just accept the doctrine of Transubstantiation or Real Presence? To accept it meant survival and the opportunity to go about the nation sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Doesn't this make sense?

Bishop Ryle provides the answer to all the foregoing questions on page 45 of his book:

"Whatever men please to think or say, the Romish doctrine of the Real Presence, if pursued to its legitimate consequences, obscures every leading doctrine of the Gospel, and damages and interferes with the whole system of Christ's truth. Grant for a moment that the Lord's Supper is a sacrifice and not a sacrament ... [and all the contingencies of the Real Presence]- You spoil the blessed doctrine of Christ's finished work when he died on the cross. A sacrifice that needs to be repeated is not a perfect and complete thing. - You spoil the priestly office of Christ. If there are priests that can offer an acceptable sacrifice to God besides Him, the great High Priest is robbed of His glory. - You spoil the Scriptural doctrine of the Christian ministry. You exalt sinful men into the position of mediators between God and man. - You give to the sacramental elements of bread and wine an honour and veneration they were never meant to receive and produce an idolatry to be abhorred of faithful Christians. - Last, but not least, you overthrow the true doctrine of Christ's human nature. If the body born of the Virgin Mary can be in more places than one at the same time, it is not a body like our own, and Jesus was not 'the second Adam' in the truth of our nature." [emphasis mine]

So there you have the reasons why Reformers were prepared to die. There were legitimate consequences of the doctrine of the Real Presence which obscured every leading doctrine of the Gospel while damaging and interfering with the whole truth of Christ Jesus.

Would the people of influence in the Church of England today and the Sydney Anglican Diocese have the conviction and courage of the Reformers to resist, to death, the doctrine of the Real Presence or Transubstantiation? If talk means anything, I suspect those in Sydney Anglican Diocese would be saying "Yes" at this point. I don't know enough about those in the Church of England to comment on how they would respond.

Let me now make life a little uncomfortable for those same people.

For most of your Christian life you have taken all means to avoid Biblical Creationists who first gently called you back to Scripture concerning the Creation account but who, on occasions, have become antagonistic at your repeated avoidance and failure to relate. Biblical Creationists are one with the Reformers on the subject of the Creation account because both have read Genesis 1 as implying each of the six days of Creation were of 24 hours and the age of the earth amounts to something near 6,000 years.

You have become selective in your reading of Scripture and selective in those who you listen to on the subject of the Creation event. Having admired and given assent to those Reformers who resisted the odious doctrine of the Real Presence to point of death, are you selective in how you apply the criteria of those Reformers when it comes to the subject of the Creation event?

Theistic Evolution, which you hold dear, is an odious doctrine. By embracing that doctrine - you spoil Christ's finished work of Creation completed as "very good" on day six as Gen 1:31, Gen 2:2 and Ex 20:11 make clear (John 5:17 refers to God working continuously post-Fall and cannot be applied here). - You spoil Christ's office as Creator by applying to Him a faltering, dead-end, mutation and death filled process of Creation. You rob Him of His glory as Creator. - You spoil the doctrine of authority of Scripture (or Word of God) by exalting sinful men to knowledge of origins to subjugation of the inspired writing of Moses. In so doing you engage in idolatry. - Last, but not least, you overthrow the true doctrine of the righteousness of Christ by asserting He created by causing the weak to suffer and die for the strong (natural selection) which is a complete reversal of His nature expressed in Law, Teaching, Redemptive Work and Person. In your doctrine, death is not an enemy which invaded the created order through sin. It is simply an outworking of the Nature of Christ before and after Creation and therefore no reason for Him to take on flesh to redeem the Creation by dying on the Cross.

With appropriate adjustment for your offence I repeat Bishop Ryle: "Whatever men please to think or say, the [worldly doctrine of Theistic Evolution], if pursued to its legitimate consequences, obscures every leading doctrine of the Gospel, and damages and interferes with the whole system of Christ's truth." [emphasis mine]

The Reformers saw the doctrine of the Real Presence as heresy. The same charge applies to the doctrine of Theistic Evolution. This then gives cause for some tough questions:

1) Isn't the Gospel, in all its strength, something more than a simple, tract-like presentation that is commonly offered today?

2) Would Biblical Creationists today be prepared to resist, to the point of death, the doctrine of Theistic Evolution?

3) Would the Sydney Anglican Diocese or the Church of England be prepared to persecute or sit idly by while the world persecuted, to the point of death, Biblical Creationists who by another label are "fundamentalists"?

4) How long will the Sydney Anglican Diocese and the Church of England give succour to practitioners of the heresy of Theistic Evolution?