Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Who I would vote for

If I were an American, who would I vote for? McCain.

Please do not admire me, thinking I am a right-wing enthusiast. I am not. I just don't think I should throw away a precious right - my vote. I just don't think I should risk it.

All I had to do was watch a taped debate between McCain and the Obama Messiah and that already enabled me to make a decision who I would vote for.

Just apply some common sense no none sense reasoning here.

The problem I see with Obama is that he is running for the office of Messiah and that is already taken. The guy has vision but he is a smooth talker too. I just have a feeling he will give you a high but leave you dry. It is not just ideas that matter, it is also competence.

So why would I vote for McCain? Well no doubt this guy will make as many guffs as Bush, but there is a saying - better the devil you know than the devil you do not know.

I would love to vote for McCain, but they will not let me. It it were the Philippines, some one will vote on my behalf. Boy, over there even dead people get to vote!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Reformation Views

It seems to me that there are fundamentally two attitudes to the Reformation that happened 500 years ago.

First we can start with the Low View: This view says that what happened 500 years ago was a misunderstanding, that it was an intramural disagreement that spilled over to the egos of the participants. This view then says that what happened 500 years ago is not relevant to our day. We need not carry that disagreement that happened there to where we live today. Besides one can get tired of this fighting, who wants to always be in protest? It gets boring. Let's just kiss and make up, go for a bear hug.

Then there is the High View: What happened 500 years ago was not a misunderstanding, in fact the parties understood each other, in fact it had something to do with the most crucial aspect of one's existence, how is a man made right with God? The issue 500 years ago was the understanding or misunderstanding of the Gospel.

If the Low view is correct, then hang your fighting gloves. If the High view is correct, then what happened 500 years ago reaches out to you, it is relevant to you today, not only to your present, but to your future and the future of your children.

If the Low view is correct, then you can adopt any confession of faith out there, it should not matter at all. If the High view is correct, then you'd better get the right one, and hang on to it till Jesus comes.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Stay away from the panic button

Most Protestant mainline denominations in the western world are getting anxious of what they would become a few years down the road. The trigger to this is the numbers, the numbers are down, they are experiencing shrinkage, not growth. Their members are gray headed folks that do not spawn new believers, they are in maintenance mode. They want their church to be comfortable, for themselves, but in the process alienates the new generation. So it is sensible to ask, would their synod/denomination still be around? People are starting to panic. Logic says that if the trend continues, the future is grim.

Something like this has always happened in the corporate world. We know the companies that survive a crisis in numbers are always the ones that have enough rope to weather the storm. So if you are small company, your hope is for a big one to buy you. In denominational terms, you ask the question, should you merge with another? Some are of course, thinking now of jumping ship.

Stay away from the panic button. Only in the Western world is Christianity losing its influence and numbers. Think globally. Christianity is growing in Asia, Latin America, Africa. It is dying in the Western world but the Western world is not the Whole World. That is giving too much credit where credit is not due.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I did not know Piepkorn got tried[sic], no cited.

James Swan (of Beggars All Reformation) featured C. A. Piepkorn's take on Luther's alledged belief in the Immaculate Conception. Read James' post here.

At the tail end of that post, I was amazed with this little tidbit of information

Not that this has any bearing on Piepkorn's Mariological statements, but interestingly, Piepkorn was charged, convicted, and removed due to teaching false doctrine:

“During the mid-seventies amidst the storm of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod controversy, Piepkorn was among those of the faculty majority at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, cited as teaching false doctrine by the 1973 New Orleans Convention resolution 3-09. Piepkorn was a signatory of the Seminary majority's protest against this resolution and resolution 3-01, which declared that all of the synod's theological and biblical interpretation and teachings must be interpreted in accord with a presumed synodical tradition as articulated in the document entitled, "A Statement of Scriptural and Confessional Principles," by Dr. Jacob A. 0. Preus, President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.” (Plekon and Wiecher, The Church: Selected Writings of Arthur Carl Piepkorn, New York: ALPB Books, 1993, 300.)

This is interesting for me because Piepkorn is usually the icon of those Augsburgians who are swimming the Tiber, e.g. Neuhaus etc.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Justification and Rome by R. Preus is a most useful read. His themes have caused me to pause and reflect. One should read p. 72, but I won't get into that right now.

What occurred to me was that Mother Church has no concept of imputation of Christ's righteousness to the sinner. What she has is not imputation, but impartation. For her, God does not impute anything to us, specially not that of the righteousness of Christ. God imparts, rather than imputes, so the position goes. For her, by virtue of Christ's atonement, God imparts grace to the sinner by which the sinner may be justified. In other words, for Mother Church, nothing is finished, there are things left to be be done by the sinner. "It is not finished".

I do not think it is caricature to say that such a position is "salvation by grace through works", besides they deny JBFA anytime anywhere anyway, so it is no mis-characterization.

The idea of impartation is humanly appealing and even in Concordia land, I had to stop when I get to Apology IV, 72.

Accordingly we wish first to show this, that faith alone makes of an unjust, a just man, i.e., receives remission of sins.

The critical word is "makes", and some, like me, might misconstrue this as teaching that sin's presence is abolished rather than forgiven. But this was not what Melanchton meant by the word "make". What he meant was that the unjust man is made righteous by imputation of the righteousness of Christ, not by impartation of grace to achieve righteousness.

Then there is another angle on imputation that bothers me a lot. My former Pentecostal pastors and teachers spoke often of "impartation", too. They spoke of "impartation of the Spirit" as a matter of habit. The remarkable thing is that they are anti-Roman, yet they talk and take similar concepts/ teachings from Rome. Little do they realize that what their tongues deny, they affirm in their beliefs and practice....They don't seem to care or bother about that.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bring Jesus back to the Church

Michael Horton had an interview on the subject of "Christless Christianity". He is of course right in his critique of what is happening in the Church.

There is truth to the title of the interview, but the modern Evangelicals are waking up to this, they are not dumb, so do not under estimate them. So they are bringing Jesus back into the Church.

Well, sure they are bringing Jesus back into the Church.

The problem is that the Jesus they are bringing back has no Cross.

Which come to think of it, the Jesus that has no Cross is not the same Jesus of the Bible.

1 Corinthians 1:23 (English Standard Version)
23but we preach Christ(A) crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Lex Orandi Lex Credendi - where is that?

Sorry, it ain't in the Bible and as a principle it reverses the truth.

What? your favorite pastor quotes it often? Ask him for a chapter and verse before you believe him. It is not in the Bible.

The way you believe is the way you will live. Not the other way around. In fact, it makes faith a work, i.e it thinks that you can cook it up by practice. It does not always achieve its aim.

The above maxim is often quoted in justifying some practice of piety, in turning an adiaphora to be no more adiaphora. It is a ploy for slipping in a practice with the guise that it will protect your faith. Think of the Galatian heresy here.

I have seen such styles when I was an RC kid and it clouded the Gospel. Before the Gospel can affect you it has to first come to you propositionally declared.

Let me explain...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Gratia Habitualis

I have been reading R. Preus' Justification and Rome. I came to his chapter on Grace and this awakened some of my brain cells. Preus observes that the RC theologians tackle grace after Christology with the result that grace has been severed from God's act of redemption or reconciliation and has become more associated with the HS work in sanctification.

This separation of grace from the Cross is something I have observed as a tendency not only in RC teaching, but in some Calvinistic (perhaps in Puritan/Revivalist streams) and Arminian sections of Evangelicalism.

Firstly, I say such separating of grace from the Cross is present in Calvinism because of its view of God's Sovereignty. God is seen as a "despota" that distributes his grace to whom he wills. They talk of grace in the area of "gifting". This is also the way the Arminians speak of grace. Granted that in some astute Calvinistic positions, they do not believe in "infused" grace, but in the way that they speak of grace, they do not distinguish grace from the "gifting of graces" provided by God. The Arminian, in compartive terms, looks at God's grace as enabling you to do certain virtuous things.

Let me give an example, if I was born from a wealthy home, both RC/Evangelicals (Calvinistic/Arminian) will consider it God's grace that I was well provided for by my parents.

This is where the Lutheran view of grace comes in and is unique or rather if not unique, maverick (I am trying to be impassionate -but I really think it is Christological). The Lutheran view of God's grace is connected to the Cross in so much so that you can almost consider this grace as trumping any other perceived graciousness of God. Hence, this is the ultimate grace and hence, stands above other graces/gifts of God. It is the fountain and the only thing that really matters at the end of the day. To them, God's grace is specific, it is seen in God's action of sending His Son as the atonement for our sins. In this position, all giftings of God - i.e. charis of whatever sort do not get first class attention. Such graces sink in the truth of that Grace at the Cross.

Frankly this is quite Biblical ...

Mark 8:36
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

They must be reelin in the years (peg)

Just feeling nostalgic today. This group was one of my favorits when I was in my late teens. Come to think of it now, they are so versatile, they can do blues, jazz and rock. It is a powerful mix of talents. Their music has variation, not like today, 2 bars that get repeated for 20 minutes.

Just an enjoyable good tune.

Let me know if you were one of those who enjoyed their tunes.

None do-able Law

It seems to me that when the Law is presented to be do-able, you will always find faith in the thing that helps you do it. It can never be a faith that cleaves to Christ. Once the Law is believed to be do-able, faith will be directed somewhere else, but not to Christ.

Of course, there is a view that what we are freed from is not the whole Law but only that part of the Law which is ceremonial, they say that this does not include the moral Law. That one you have to do by the grace of God, so they say.

I simply find that hard to believe, based on my reading of the Epistles and Acts.

The use of the term Law is collective, it includes all the laws of God - both ceremonial, dietary and moral. I find this true in Paul, for example.

I follow a simple logic, if say that the moral Law is not included in the term 'Law', meaning that is something you 'can do', then there is boasting, no matter how much one denies it. You can boast. You may not boast, but you 'can' boast - that possibility is there. Yet the principle of faith says there is no possibility of boasting. Want some Scripture? Let's discuss them.

This comes down to also making faith a work, i.e. if that faith allows you to boast - it is not faith as the Bible speaks of- that faith is mis-directed and cannot be the faith produced by the Holy Spirit from the Word. Faith in the Gospel is an I-less faith.

We got it right if that faith eliminates "you" in the equation.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

A social phenomenon

Long ago I learnt that you can study the church/churches as a social phenomenon like a scientist studies a bacteria under a microscope.

You can put the churches in a fish tank and watch them from the outside, study them from purely humanistic eyes, looking at them as social movement. In other words from a purely human behaviour standpoint.

For example you can look at it like an organization providing some service to the public - the service might be care giving in exchange of some donation. So you can get into service delivery and how to improve such service.

My reading of the Bible seems to the suggest that there is some social reality to the church, but overall it is much more than that. In fact I see it as unique grouping of people, something that is so different from the others in the world.

It stands in a category by itself.

For this reason, you can really screw your mind up if you rely on George Barna to tell you what works in church and what does not work.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Crowe for treasurer

Yesterday The Age ran an article of Russell Crowe's suggestion on what would cure the US economy. Crowe is an Oscar academy award winner. He is a great actor and Aussies are proud of him. Read what he said would cure the US economy here.

Here is an excerpt

Crowe believes the US government should give each American $US1 million
($1.26 million).
His reasoning is the US has a population of about 300
million, so the $US300 million outlay is a fraction of the $US700 billion
financial bailout package rejected by politicians in Washington DC
"I was thinking," Crowe said.
"If they want to stimulate the
economy and get people spending so they can look after their mortgage ... give
everyone $1 million."

I like the idea! That is a good recommendation.

Hmmm, hang on, have you got the maths right? If the US gov has $300m and would give $1m to 300m people, hang on, that means the US gov has to shell out $300 trillion or so dollars. That is beyond $300m. Or if you have $300m and distribute this to the US population of 300m, they will have to give just $1.00 each.

Hmm, this means we should retthink twice when electing actors to government office, no? Tip: I know I learned from Filipino politics. Over there you could get elected for having the right face not by the right credentials.

OK Ronald Reagan was the exception but such types are like Halley's comet, they come only once in 76 years.