Thursday, December 13, 2007

Evolution Helped Pregnant Ladies Stand Up

A recent article on on how pregnant ladies can stand up is a classic example of how presuppositions influence the conclusion. The scientists presuppose that evolution is true and determined that the features they found were brought about by evolution. However, they have no proof, they have only their assumptions. From a certain point of view, one can just as easily say, "God is an incredible engineer."

Why Don't We Blame What Is Really To Blame For Violence

An article in Christian on the supposed influence of pop culture on violence amongst teens illustrates the problems caused by the denial of Original Sin. People need something to blame for such senseless violence such as the Mall shooter and the Church shooter, but because they deny Original Sin in order to maintain their fantasy of deciding for Jesus they blame the media. Why? The media is safe and blaming them means they don't have to look to closely at their doctrine, because to acknowledge that the people themselves are responsible for their own actions is dangerous to their world view.

To state that the people who perpetrate these atrocities are solely responsible for their actions means they must admit to an innate inclination to perpetrate murderous actions and that my friends is dangerously close to saying those evil Catholics were right. We did inherit sin from great grandpappy Adam. The people in the media are not responsible for this men's actions. Those men are responsible for their own actions.

Now, likely these men weren't firing on all cylinders. They probably did have something going on that impaired their judgment, but the root cause for that impairment is sin. If Adam had not eaten that fruit we would not have people who were a few fries short of a happy meal. We would all be perfectly tuned God lovin' people. So, once again sin is at the heart.

Here is the kicker. Why do people like violent entertainment? Sin.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

My Newest Pet Peeve

My newest and greatest pet peeve is advertisements who rather than try to sell their product make fun of other products. Chief of these ads is the Apple ads featuring two guys known as PC and Mac. Every time I see one of these ads I have to wonder what it is about Macs that they feel that to make people want to buy them they have to make be little pc's. Their latest foray is an ad proclaiming the fastest Vista machine was a Mac, what they don't tell you is at the time the PCWorld benchmark was run nobody else was running a Intel dual core at 2.6 ghz. Their claim has since fallen to the Eurocom D-900C - Phantom X which granted using an Intel quad core. I would also like to see how it compares with Alienware's new contender which features much of the same equipment as the Macbook Pro.

They aren't the only ones guilty of this Altell is not far behind in annoyance levels and Metropcs is catching up. If your product is so great and wonderful sell it as great and wonderful don't belittle somebody else's product. They make it seem as if they are trying to mask some great deficiency by getting you to focus on supposed problems.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Who Is A Theologian

I have heard many people when discussing beliefs use the cop out, "I am not theologian," usually in circumstances where they have been called to defend their beliefs. This is not true. I really like how Stanley Grenz and Roger Olsen defined a theologian in their book Who needs theology?. They defined a theologian as anybody who has sat back and contemplated on who God is. They then broke theologians down into three basic categories: lay, pastoral, academic. I am not going to get into the nitty-gritty but the short of it is, everybody is a theologian.

Do Words Have Meaning Anymore?

My lovely wife was hanging out on a message board where the topic of infant baptism came up. A few ladies had responded to this person who had asked why people baptize babies. As she was reading through the responses my wife became confused, because she was seeing terms thrown about that we Lutherans cherish such as means of Grace, sacraments, etc but their stated beliefs were not consistent with the meanings of these terms. The height of which was a Nazarene lady who was throwing these terms around and cited as thinking the LC-MS website on infant baptism was a great statement but then proceeded to say baptism doesn't save. My wife having been positively influenced by me in matters of theology politely called her on the inconsistency and asked her to clarify. To which the lady essentially responded, I am not a theologian don't ask me to define my terms. This incident got us to wondering do people actually acknowledge that words have meaning, that we should understand that meaning, or do we just adopt something that sounds nice regardless of meaning?

Kindle Is It All That It Is Fired Up To Be?

Kindle is the lastest attempt to create an ebook reader by Amazon. I don't have one so I am not really offering a review, but I am just offering some impressions from a bibliophile. My initial thoughts are that it holds some promise. It is completely wireless, capable of holding numerous books (a feature I find attractive for trips), and has a highly readable screen. However, is it worth it?

400 bucks seems mighty steep for something I am only going to use to read books I have to buy @ $10 a copy, plus I am trying to save for my 1080p flat-panel tv. My second thought is too many buttons, couldn't they have hidden the keyboard? I can see it now, I will have trouble getting comfy without hitting a button. Oh yes, I nearly forgot it only comes in B&W, I can't believe in the age of iPhones and high-def laptops they couldn't develop a working color display.

Right now, unless they drop the price of Kindle significantly to the less than $100 range, I am not even going to consider buying something purely for the convenience of having 100 of titles in one paper back size gizmo. Besides they don't offer it in book smell (I love the smell of a book).

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Return To Military Life?

It isn't a true return as I have never served in the armed forces, but I grew up in a military family. My dad flew in the belly of the BUFF, B-52 for the un-indoctrinated and later a desk for Wing/Base Ops, so I have more than a bit of fondness for those who serve. I know what they and their families go through and I admire them for making those sacrifices. Of late, I have been taking stock of my life and wondered if it is time to "return" to that life by becoming a Chaplain. To do so will, of course, mean a major lifestyle change for myself; I have to drop around 100 lbs, but that would be good for me. It would also be a major change for my wife, particularly with the likelihood of deployment, a thing which gives me pause. She is also concerned about the "nomadic" lifestyle of people who serve (she is not a big fan of moving, but I have faith in her ability to adapt). Of concern, also, is that fact that by its very nature chaplaincy involves working with people of differing faiths and I am not sure how that works for a theologically conservative confessional Lutheran. Anyhow, that is where I am at this time. I would like to hear from men who have served in the Chaplaincy about their experiences, so if you have served leave a comment or email me.

Senate Investigation Into Televangelists Good Thing Or Bad Thing?

Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has launched an investigation of several of the leading televangelists, identified as "Prosperity Gospel" preachers. Supposedly, he is acting in response to requests from watch dog groups, news reports, and individual complaints. Now, I am all for ministers and ministries being held accountable for their finances, we are too be blameless in the sight of man and our use of ministry finances is a very public endeavor. So, I was generally in favor of Sen Grassley's actions. However, I have to wonder what kind of ramifications this could have for other churches. Typically, what happens as a result of these investigations is hasty and ill thought out knee-jerk laws. Those laws tend to have rather negative unintended consequences and can affect law abiding ministries also.

I think I am going to continue to side with Sen. Grassley on this issue, but I think I will pay close attention to the fall out and pray that they do not react rashly.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I Am Also A Bible Nerd

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

It's Official, I'm Nuts!

What mental disorder do you have?
Your Result: ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)

You have a very hard time focusing, and you find it difficult to stay on task without your mind wandering. You probably zone in and out of conversations and tend to miss out on directions because you cannot focus

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
Manic Depressive
GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)
What mental disorder do you have?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Rick Warren's Convictions On Worship

1. Only believers can truly worship God.

The Bible says, "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24 HCSB). Worship must rest on a true understanding of who God is – and that can only happen when a person has a relationship with God. You can have a worship service full of people, but only believers can really worship.

True only a redeemed sinner can worship God, because only a redeemed sinner will want to worship God. Why, because worship is a way of giving thanks and only some one who has been redeemed can give thanks. The unrepentant generally couldn't careless about worshipping. Besides, sleeping in is more fun than getting up.

2. You don’t need a building to worship God.

For 15 years we didn’t have a building of our own. But I guarantee we did a lot of worshipping during that time. The Bible says, "The God who made the world and all things in it, since he is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands" (Acts 17:24 NAS). God created everything in the world. That includes any place you might consider having a worship service. Worship isn’t a place; it’s a verb

True, you don't need a building to have worship, but they sure are nice when it rains.

3. There is no correct style of worship.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12: "There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men." God gives us only three requirements for worship. It must be authentic and accurate (in spirit and truth, as Jesus tells us in John 4). Paul also tells us in 1 Corinthians 14 that it should be done in an orderly fashion. Beyond that, God gives us freedom.

Debates over worship styles are almost always sociological or personality clashes, couched in theological terms. Everybody thinks that their worship style is the most biblical. But there is no one biblical style. There are no musical notes in the Bible. We don’t even have the instruments that they had. The truth is God loves all kinds of worship styles – as long as we worship him in spirit, in truth, and in an orderly fashion.

Actually, there is a theological component to the worship wars that is legitimate, but I wouldn't expect a person who believes worship is all about what we do to realize that fact. Warren seems to think that it really does boil down to personal desires and to an extent he might be right. However, there is a lot to be said about the me centered nature about contemporary worship and the cold impersonal blahness of traditional worship. I still can't get over how the song "The Heart of Worship" goes on and on about" it's all about you, Jesus," but in the end its really all about me doing something. Yes the song is largely a confession, but all it takes is a few words to ruin the whole message. Its ok to say I will praise you but lacking the context of praise in response to God's work of salvation is an empty gesture without meaning even if you are singing praise because he is the creator. Going through the service by rote is equally heinous, sure you are saying the right words, but do they reflect what is in the heart? Are you negating the joyous response of praise through your bored demeanor?

The other question he fails to ask is what is the purpose of worship. I think he does so because he assumes that it is us doing something for God. Sadly, he misses the best part, what God does for us. The worship service should be structured around the things that God does for us and our response of thanksgiving, kind of like how it should be happening in our vocations. We can praise Jesus to our hearts till we fall over from lack of Oxygen, but outside of the context of the Gospel what's the point?

The only thing that is really a question of adiaphora, neither forbidden nor commanded, is the question of guitar or organ.

4. While unbelievers can’t worship, they can watch believers worship.

We see this truth lived out in Acts 2. "They worshiped together regularly at the Temple each day, met in small groups in homes for Communion, and shared their meals with great joy and thankfulness, praising God. The whole city was favorable to them, and each day God added to them all who were being saved" (Acts 2: 46-47 TLB).

When the early church worshipped, non-believers came to faith in Christ. Non-Christians can’t worship, but they can see the kind of joy worship brings us. They can see how God’s Word transforms our heart, comforts us, and interacts with us. God can use our worship services to draw non-believers to himself
True, but it helps if you clearly proclaim the Law and the Gospel. Where these are proclaimed hearts will change. Sadly, too many preachers believe that good worship means that the sermon provides helpful tips on how to be a good parent, fiscally responsible, etc. Rick Warren Deal with real life issues but move them to the Gospel don't leave them hanging in despair or giving them false confidence in their own ability to do God pleasing work.

5. Worship is a powerful witness to unbelievers if God’s presence is felt and the message is understandable.

Both of those are essential parts of a worship service when witnessing to unbelievers. Again, Acts 2 is a good example of this. God’s presence was so evident in the disciple’s worship at Pentecost that it attracted the attention of all the unbelievers throughout the city. And then the message was understandable. Remember the miracle of tongues? Every man heard the message in his own language. It had to be understandable! And that’s true today as well.

Ok, it is good advice to avoid church jargon. Your average parishioner does not understand what sanctification means, but they will understand what it means to strive towards perfection or trying to be more like Jesus in response to the Gospel. The worship service can be a powerful witness to unbelievers whether or not they feel something. Unless all you have to go by is your feelings, but we don't. The Gospel is it's own powerful witness and its power is derived not from how we feel, but from God himself.

6. God expects us to be sensitive to the fears, hang-ups, and the needs of unbelievers when they are present in our worship services.

The Bible says in Colossians 4:5 (NIV): "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." When you have guests over for dinner at your house, do you act a little bit differently? I hope so! A little bit more polite. Maybe you use a different set of china or dishes. The presentation of the meal is a little bit more thoughtful. The table conversation is a little bit more courteous. You may be still eating beans and weenies. It’s the same meal, but you are presenting it in a little more polite way.

Is that being hypocritical? No. It’s called being polite. Whenever you hear people talk about being sensitive to unbelievers, that is not watering down the gospel. It’s called love. You’re just being nice to them.

Treat them nicely. That is good advice. What it doesn't mean is turning a blind eye towards sin or out right acceptance. It simply means being friendly. Help them, guide them. Don't berate. It is possible to tell somebody they have done something wrong without hitting them in the head with a Family Bible.