Monday, December 28, 2009

In the midst of the muck and mess he comes

I needed to hear that. Pastor Brett, my pastor preached a sermon this Christmas how Jesus comes in the middle of the muck and mess of the stable. Muck and mess, that is sometimes an appropriate description of what I am in, personally. That pretty much sums up also what the world is right now. Yet silently, ubiquitously, Jesus comes. It is hard to believe that Christ could be with me, in my muck and mess. To tell you honestly, I sometimes think Jesus is not in the radar of my life, like the radar has gone blank. Yet by God's word, He is Immanuel, the God who is with us. The trials that happen in my life are quick to distract me from sensing the presence of Christ. I have been noticing that. There are many things that can pull you away and so you think Jesus has gone off the chart. It is hard to believe that he is there even though all your senses say NO.

I also observe how deceptive the enemy could be. You look at the world, its glamor and glossiness, it sedates you to the fact that the enemy of our souls is also at work in the lives of others. The enemy does not advertise himself to the people he deceives and they have no inclination that they could be under his sway. I was speaking a few days ago with an elderly gentleman who taught in university and since have retired. He expressed concern at his teenage grand daughter's bland mind, how she has not been prepared for the basic tenets of life, she seems like wondering off and following where ever the wind blows. One of my children has been affected by this too in some degree or another.

The battlefield is in the mind because once this field is conquered the one in possession of this territory, takes control. It is indeed a faith-war. It is a cultural war and the media is also employed by the enemy to promote his false way of thinking - a false mindset. It is a battle of belief systems. He does not do this blatantly, he does it by suggestion, subtly. I suppose this becomes prominent as Christianity weakens its influence in society. Where as the tools the HS employs are countable by our fingers - Word and Sacrament, they are spiritual, but the enemy employs all the resources he can find to lure our minds to his agenda, he employs the flesh and appeals to our flesh.

May God (as Luther prayed) keep us steadfast in his Word, because without the Word, we would soon be sucked up by the mentality of the world.

I am interested in any insights you can share on this ubiquitousness of Christ and deceitfulness of the enemy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Worst Gospel Song Ever

If you think this was created by a Pentecostal, you are wrong. Stupid gospel songs are not confined to Pentecostals. This came from Sonseed, an RC group.

I could not believe myself, I watched through the whole thing. I did not realize I got some stamina for punishment.

Happy Christmas anyone, you could all use a laugh.

PS. We are not giving gifts this Christmas, at least not in terms of material gifts. Except for the grand kids, we decided to give each other time and service instead.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Getting desperate are we?

Watch this CNN report of a church that does lottery.

Now, why can't my local church have something like this?

I sure will be in church each Sunday.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

False Doctrine - allowed

A few weeks ago, I got a text saying that the latest Hillsong album has been released and I was enjoined to support it saying "remember we are in this together". This is probably a pun on the title of the new CD etc., I am not sure anymore, I am not a fan. It implied to me that I should buy it. It came from a Pentecostal pastor.

I must have been kept in their list. Years ago I was active in ministerial fellowships around Melbourne, that was back in the days as a Charismaniac. But almost 5 years ago, I wrote to my Pentecostal pastor friends of my change in confession and how I believe the Book of Concord is the correct exposition of Scripture. Amazing, no body asked me what happened, why the change? Nope, none of that.

When I got the text, I immediately text back to the sender saying - "I do not buy into that Hillsong stuff". You would think I would get a reply asking, why? Nah.

The same thing happened a few months ago, I was sent an email by an old friend promoting Joyce Meyer's and Joel Osteen's teachings and I replied, saying they have false doctrine and did I get an inquiry why I said what I said? You know the answer.

In present day Evangelia/Charismania, there is no such thing as "false doctrine". When you mention such a thing, it does not register. They have no such category. Everything is ok, I am ok, and you are ok, ok? This completely gets me stumped. Mention false doctrine and they would not know what to do with it. They do not know how to process the remark, it is even a wonder if they think they should process it anyway. Anything goes in this crazy world.

So I go back to that time when I wrote my minister friends of my change in conviction, when I became Lutheran. I was just thinking, what if the letter that I sent said - I have become a JW or a Mormon, would people in my previous circle care to dialogue with me?

There are a few possibilities why nobody dared to speak to me. Either they think I was going to false doctrine and they are happy for me to be lost. Or they are happy for me because I am leaving some false doctrine behind and going to something true. Or, they just do not care about my soul (and probably their's too).

There are more possibilities than these but these ones come to my mind.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Obamessiah at the mosque?

This President certainly looks like praying at the mosque.

Of course, another possibility is that he was in Japan and it is customary there to take off your shoes when entering a Japanese home. Was he entering a Japanese home or was he visiting the Emperor of Japan?

What do you think? It certainly looks like a mosque to me.

A Muslim prayin at a mosque certainly deserves no news.

The thing with The Obama is that he claims to be "Christian".

So how does one reconcile a Christian praying at a Muslim mosque? Unless of course, you redefine what "Christian" and "Muslim" means, then you will find no disconnect in your actions.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Are we using the Tiger?

I can almost bet, like me you have been reading about Tiger Woods lately. I do not know how he has been billed in the US; I have read only that he has been held up as a role model for young people. Over here we do not see his face in advertisements but no doubt he has many fans here. As a celebrity golfer, I am sure product makers would want their products to be endorsed by him. That may change now.

The world is clamoring for heroes. They have become rare commodities. They have become rare because Christianity in the West is now in decline. What used to underpin the moral stability of the West, is no longer there, it is shunned and even hated. It is even skewed in what they think is a hero.

I have been thinking much about the Tiger. I am sad. I am sad because as a fellow human being, he is going through a dark spot in his life. Someone (I can almost hear) ,I am sure, would say - what are you so sad about, the guy has billion dollar bucks coming out of his ears, no sympathy is required.

I was wondering if the job of being a role model was too much for him to bear. What if the pressure was so big, he knew himself that he did not fit the bill and he cracked under the pressure. What if fame made his life complicated? What if he himself needed a hero? What if?

Was the media too much in a hurry to turn him to be a hero? Why can’t a hero be somebody who lives a simple life, someone who battles daily to support his wife and kids, someone who does not have enough yet is happy simply to pour out his life so that his family might survive. Why can’t a hero be someone who gives whatever little he has to his family and to others? Why can’t a hero be someone who can’t point to a skill or talent or fortune in himself, but only has his clean name?

I have heard and am aware of husbands who had more affairs than the Tiger and who fathered many children (lots) outside marriage, but they don’t get in the news. If we would ask Jesus, all of us should be in the news, if you know what I mean.

The media used Tiger Woods, and who knows perhaps Tiger used them too. For sure, they are using him again. I feel for his wife, his parents and children, of course, for him too.

I would think if I were in his shoes, I should envy that suburban husband down the street who struggles to make ends meet, yet has no complications and lives relatively at peace in the company and support of his wife and kids. I know I would trade places with such a man.

I hope he seeks some pastoral counsel. That is what he needs right now.

I pray he (we) might understand that our first sin is not towards others, and that before we commit those sins against our neighbor, we commit them first towards God.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Is self-reference required?

I often read other people's blog. My teachers here taught me that in order to write, you should read. So I read some comments and interactions that take place in other people's blog. Recently I have read of an RC Apologist saying that Scripture does not teach the Reformation principle -Scripture Alone, or sola scriptura. Hence, it is not taught by Scripture.

His objection (I paraphrase).

"There is no Scripture in Scripture, that says Scripture alone is sufficient for faith and practice".

In logic, this is called a self-reference. It is a statement that speaks about the statement itself.

Here is another example:

"This statement is a lie".

Our language is capable of self-reference, but such referencing is not capable of being evaluated. It goes into cycles. So in the above, if that statement is false, then it is true and is not a lie, which it said it is etc etc, you can go crazy at this.

So going back to the requirement of the RC apologist, he seems to be saying that in order for sola scriptura to be true, you should find a statement of it in Scripture. There is one in Scripture such as 2Tim 3:16-17 that matches this but this is dismissed by RC apologists because it is not explicit enough.

There is a fallacy going on in the apologist's requirement. There is no necessity that for a document to be true, it has to state something about its own truthfulness and if it does not, then it is not adequate to inform.

Another point is this, even if there is one such explicit statement, the apologist can come back and say - well self-reference is not valid anyway because you are simply stating your statement is true, does not make it true.

Sophistry is like that, your system is able to prove or refute too much. At first blush they think this is virtue, but as I often say - this is not virtue, instead it is vile. A form of reasoning that is able to prove anything you like is not a good thing because that means you have falsehood also inside it.

Ex falso quodlibet - from a contradiction (falsehood) you can deduce anything. This is the fallacy that sophistry includes and is hidding inside that form of reasoning and for this reason is able to prove anything.

As fallen people, we are capable of sophistry. Even in culture such as the pop culture of young peole, you can observe this happening today.

When people are swimming in their own sophistry, they are not aware of it or fanatical adherence makes them deny it. It is like telling the fish - hey do you know you are swimming in water? Huh, what water?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A case of hijacking, again.

A few years ago, I think I posted about how the word "Evangelical" has been hijacked from the First Evangelicals. Please note, that observation was not original to me. So now, the word has been so used and misused, we do not know now what that word means.

I have been reading of what has been happening in the Calvinist/Reformed world.

Dr. R. Scott Clark, a Reformed professor of historic theology, wrote a piece here, arguing that the label "Reformed" should be confined to paedo-baptists Calvinists who confess the Continental (Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, Canons of Dort) and English Calvinist Confessions (Westminster, Savoy, etc).

Famous Reformed Baptists, like apologist Dr. James White of AOMIN.ORG took exception to this.

So in a sense, Dr. Clark's point is that technically the word "Reformed" should be the proper label for infant baptizing Calvinists, and it should not be applied to credo-baptizing ones. Hence, it is not proper for credo-baptists "Calvinists" to call themselves Reformed as another variation of that term, there is no such thing as Reformed Baptist, I think this is what Dr. Clark is saying.

I think Dr. Clark is right, historically Calvinism has a distinct pedigree and paedo-baptism is one of them.

On the other hand, Dr. Clark should know that Calvinists stole many concepts from Lutherans and rehashed them and gave them their own spin. I think this mostly happened in what Lutherans called The Interim.

So, all I can say is, what goes around, comes around, no?