Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Big Three, the Big Hope, in the Big House...

After years of frustration, potential unmet, unacceptable losses at Ohio State, this looks like the year when Michigan is once again the team to beat. A great deal of that hope rests on the shoulders of these three men: tackle Jake Long, tailback Mike Hart and quarterback Chad Henne. Along with the supporting cast, they should be a force to be reckoned with. I can see no reason why Michigan, barring injury, shouldn't win it all this year in the Big Ten and have a shot at the National title. Anything less will be a huge disappointment. That is true every year but this year even more so. Disappoint this year, and Lloyd Carr will be retiring, whether he is ready to or not.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Congratulations to Ms. Debby Rieselman!

Her inane Letter to the Editor in the Cincinnati Enquirer wins my coveted "Totally missing the point" award. It starts off with a cutesy headline ("Lutherans' opening up to gays a loving act") and goes downhill from there with quote after quote that shows an utter ignorance of the Bible and Christianity...

It's a little murky, but reformation, as Lutherans know, is always murky. As the leader of the Protestant Reformation nearly 500 years ago, the Lutheran church claims a tradition of "always reforming itself."... It wasn't easy. Some delegates wanted to delay the vote for two years until a church task force made more progress. Others uttered the words of our founder Martin Luther: "How soon 'not now' becomes 'never.' "

The Reformation that Luther in large part started, and that has continued throughout the centuries is not about "tolerance" or "acceptance". It is about a continual concern with and return to Biblical fidelity. The idea of an openly homosexual man (or woman) standing in a pulpit with their homosexual partner gazing on lovingly from the pews would be abhorrent to Luther.

Her final comment is an ominous one...

This was a compromise. And it was only a first step. But it was a loving step.

This is but the first step towards a goal of complete tolerance. The goal is not about minor steps but complete capitulation of the Bible to the whims and perversions of the day. This has never been about acceptance, but has always been about the submission of the Word of God to the sin of the day, remaking God into an idol of our own image. Churches like the ELCA frankly, and this sounds harsh but the truth often is, either need to repent of their sins or stop calling themselves Christian churches. I know I don't get to dictate who is or is not a Christian, but Christ does and the actions of the ELCA have put them directly at odds with the revealed Word of God and therefore against Christ Himself.

Ms. Rieselman's bio describes her as follows:

Debby Rieselman is a lifelong Lutheran, a member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Crestview Hills, and a lay leader in many areas of her local church, as well as the synodical and national levels of Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

One would think that someone in a position of leadership such as hers would have a better grasp of the totality of the Biblical witness, rather than a mere sentimentalism that sees all sinners as inherently good and God as obligated to save them despite their rebellion and sin.

What would truly be a loving act would be for Lutherans to call homosexuals in their midst to Biblical repentance, calling on them to turn from their sinful lifestyle and "sin no more". But that might strike some as "intolerant"...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Reformed T-shirt!

Got my newest t-shirt today, I am not sure I care for the color (dark brown) but the message is great, the need for a changed heart from stone to flesh, a miracle that only God can do. Order yours here!

22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. [1] 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. 30 I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Emmet County Fair Goat Show 2007

Good times in August! (of course the most humid day of the year...)

Hunter in costume class

Reagan in his first county fair...

Part two...

Hunter and Reagan in the Nanny and Kid class part 1

Hunter and Maddie in the Senior Doe class, Hunter and Bantu in 1st, Maddie and Aurora in 2nd

More from Hunter versus Maddie

The kids and their awards

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Who are the proper subjects of baptism?

Another great baptism debate online, this time between Paul Manata and Gene Cook, Jr. (of The Narrow Mind radio program). Paul holds the paedobaptist position and Gene the credobaptist. I have only managed to listen to the first of three mp3’s, but this has been my favorite line so far (by Gene): “Baptism is the unreformed doctrine of the Reformation”

It is nice to listen to a debate like this, and like the James White-Bill Shishko debate earlier in the year, two Reformed guys, who hold to almost all of the same doctrines debating a vital issue without the acrimony that often accompanies this sort of stuff.

I of course think that so far, Gene is cleaning the floor with Paul. Gene’s intro puts Paul on the defensive automatically, and his intro seemed to be a rambling list of Scriptures from the Old Testament that really have little or nothing to do with baptism and the New Covenant. I am looking forward to listening to the rest in my “spare time”!

Monday, August 20, 2007

The evils of homemaking

We live in a country where home and family have always been revered by most. Yet in this same country we look down on homemakers, domestic engineers, housewives, whatever you call them. Hillary Clinton thinks it takes a village to raise a child, but most Americans understand that what it takes are parents.

The latest salvo in the "culture wars" stems from a new concentration offered at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Keep in mind that this is a private seminary with a very clearly stated agenda. No one goes to Southwestern under the pretense of getting anything other than a conservative, Christian worldview based education. The awful subject they are teaching? Homemaking. Already the left is having a fit...

It is sure to invite criticism from many quarters and could be a potential flashpoint in America's on-going "culture wars" between religious conservatives and those with a secular bent.

That is no doubt quite true. I am sure that given time, all manner of smarmy posts will pop up across the blogosphere decrying the Neanderthals at SWBTS for keeping women in the kitchen. How dare they offer the courses that they want at their universities!

Now, when Christian conservative sneer at some of the drivel that passes for academia at secular universities, we are accused of seeking to squash free speech and learning, even if the "classes" are nothing more than thinly veiled apologies for various and sundry sexual perversion, frivolous entertainment or frankly nothing much at all. Merely having the gathering held on a college campus and charging people for credit makes it academically worthy. Christians are forbidden from speaking ill of whatever garbage is peddled in the name of the university, no matter how tawdry or trivial. But dare raise a Christian school with a course on homemaking and you risk the wrath of the liberal thought police (both secular and religious no doubt)

In 2007, very few people are raised with any sort of practical knowledge about how to live and survive in the world. By offering women who want an education but still plan on raising their families something more practical than "A theoretical history of feminism", SWBTS is performing a great service to many a Christian home.

Charlie? Derek? Ken? Brady?!

A few weeks from the opening of the NFL regular season, and no one is the starting quarterback for the Browns. Charlies Frye and Derek Anderson, technically competing for the starting job, have looked incompetent. Ken Dorsey has looked decent, but seriously he is not the answer. Brady Quinn looked great against the backups versus Detroit, but he was also playing with a third string O-line, third string wideouts, running backs, etc. Take away the long hold out, and Brady may be starting against Pittsburgh. Regardless, he is clearly the future, if for no other reason than the current crop of QBs are not. With Jamal Lewis running, Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow catching, a vastly improved offensive line and a defense quietly getting better all the time, the Browns may be poised to be (gasp!) a playoff contender next year.


Friday, August 17, 2007

VBS can be great but... has an interesting article on vacation Bible school in America, and it does a good job in a short time exposing some of the flaws and pitfalls of VBS in modern evangelical churches. Some of the questions that it raised that have concerned me as well...

Leads to over reliance on VBS for evangelism

For Southern Baptists, the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., VBS is the most effective tool of evangelism, the impetus for 26% of baptisms in 2006. Nearly three million children and adults attended VBS at Southern Baptist churches last year, resulting in 94,980 "decisions to receive Christ as Savior" and 280,693 "Sunday School prospects discovered," according to Southern Baptist Convention statisticians. "Vacation Bible School is today's revival," said Jerry Wooley, the VBS specialist for LifeWay, the SBC's publishing agency.

That sounds great, but our number one tool of evangelism should be the Word of God, and it seems to me that in the SBC churches that we have been members/attenders at, the VBS is exactly what the author of this article says it is for many people: The large signs beckon from every suburban church. Free baby-sitting, they whisper. All week! It is a seductive pitch, directed at frazzled parents desperate to entertain their bored offspring as the summer drags on.

That is exactly what U have experienced. Parents drop off young children at the church, pick them up at the end of the week and never come back. Maybe we reached the kids with the Gospel message, IF we are giving them a solid message, but it never gets reinforced at home and they may never hear the Gospel again until VBS next year, and eventually they get too old for VBS and never go to a church again, except for weddings and funerals (where the Gospel is also typically absent). And that brings us to the second part...

Is the message the right one?

Glynis Jaszewski, a Roman Catholic who lives in the suburbs of Richmond, Va., sent her two children to Vacation Bible Schools at Protestant churches without qualms. "When I was working, they would always go to two or three of them in the summer; it was day care," Mrs. Jaszewski said. She believes their generic Christian message doesn't vary much, even across denominational lines.

Indeed, the big publishing houses that provide VBS material--the SBC's LifeWay, the United Methodists' Cokesbury and the nondenominational Standard Publishing (which produced the first printed VBS curriculum, in 1923)--peddle their wares to any church, regardless of denomination. And the simple themes based on Bible verses, with an accompanying VBS cheer ("Run the race, keep the pace, keep your eyes on Jesus!"), rarely stray into Wittenberg-like territory.

That statement should strike us as problematic. I am not suggesting that we make unchurched kids memorize the Institutes of the Christian Religion by Calvin, but they ought to be getting a solid enough message that a ten year old who goes to a Roman Catholic church should at least realize that something doesn't jive. If what they are hearing is so watered down that the basic justification by faith alone is lost, then are we really doing the Gospel justice?

Having said that, there is plenty of good that comes from VBS. Kids that never hear the Gospel, never see a Christian example, get exposure. That is great and there is no price that can be put on one soul saved, but the question is whether or not we should count on VBS for our main, and perhaps only, evangelistic effort...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What's a name between friends?

Here is a splendid idea...

A proposal by a Roman Catholic bishop in the Netherlands that people of all faiths refer to God as "Allah" is not sitting well with the Catholic community.
Tiny Muskens, an outgoing bishop who is retiring in a few weeks from the southern diocese of Breda, said God doesn't care what he is called.
"Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn't we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? ... What does God care what we call him? It is our problem," Muskens told Dutch television.

What does God care? God is pretty specific about how He is addressed and how He is worshipped. We may as well call God "Baal" as "Allah", both are idolatrous perversions of the image of the one true God.

The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago supports the idea.

“I think it will open up doors,” said Janaan Hashim, a spokeswoman for the group representing more than 400,000 Muslim Americans in the Chicago area. “Language is a man-made limitation. I think what God cares about is how we fulfill our purpose in life.”

Well, there is a shocker. Of course they do. I would support the idea of Muslims calling Jesus Christ Lord, but I don't see that happening. More from CAIR...

"It reinforces the fact that Muslims, Christians and Jews all worship the same God," Hooper told "I don't think the name is as important as the belief in God and following God's moral principles. I think that's true for all faiths."

I would hope that since Mr. Hooper worships the same God as me, he recognizes the Lordship of Christ as the Alpha & Omega, the beginning and the end. One would have to suspect that his idea of interfaith cooperation ultimately leads to submission to Islam.

Clearly "Bishop" Muskens hasn't the vaguest idea who Christ is or why following Him is important. That is why doctrine matters, theology matters, discernment matters and why calls for ecumenism at all costs betray the Gospel.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Another nail in the coffin

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has softened it's stance against homosexuality yet again. It has now gotten to the point of having absolutely no standards at all for personal holiness and Biblical submission. On Saturday, August 11th their annual assembly passed a resolution, 538-431, to encourage tolerance of homosexuals "pastors" living in sinful relationships with their partners.

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Homosexual Lutheran clergy who are in sexual relationships will be able to serve as pastors, the largest U.S. Lutheran body said on Saturday. ..The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) passed a resolution at its annual assembly urging bishops to refrain from disciplining pastors who are in "faithful committed same-gender relationships."

Openly homosexual "pastors" who live in sexually deviant relationships will now be openly and warmly accepted. Dwell on that. What do you suppose Luther would have thought of that?

But the real question, I suppose should be: Why not? Once they started down the road of selecting what Biblical standards they would accept, it was inevitable that this is where it ends up. The Bible very clearly lays out the parameters for the role of pastor. But once you start to abandon pieces of the Bible, it snowballs until the Bible is completely irrelevant. It often starts at the beginning, with an abandonment of the Biblical truth of creationism, and then drifts into the calling and ordaining of female pastors, and once you get to that point you start to abandon penal substitutionary atonement, the doctrine of eternal punishment, justification by faith alone, the inerrancy of the Bible, and before you know it the Bible is boiled down to a misinterpreted set of teachings from the Sermon on the Mount and John 3:16. The worst part is that the 4.3 million members of the ELCA have been so misled by their leadership that they have joined the ranks of churches where members are saved in spite of, not because of, their attendance.
(I think for once I beat Dr. Mohler on a news item!)

A sad but true cartoon

From Glen McCoy on National Review...

This is the world we live in, where we tiptoe around Islam but are free (indeed enouraged) to slander Christianity. Good thing I worship a God who is soveriegn....

Saturday, August 04, 2007


I read a few things about high school junior phenom running back Sam McGuffie from Cypress, TX when heverbally committed to play for the Wolverines and was pretty excited. And then I watched a few highlight reels from Youtube, and about passed out. This kid is crazy good. Watching him is like watching some of the moves on my X-box playing Madden or EA NCAA football. Juke moves, spin moves, busting tackles and flat out jumping over guys. If this guy stays healthy and is as good as he looks, watch out! This video is just a taste of how athletic this guy is...

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

A vital conversation that the church needs to have

Dr. Mohler discussed the education situation in America on his radio program on Friday, Aug 3, and as he stated several times it is a conversation that we MUST have and continue to have. The topic of Christian education is one that is the proverbial elephant in the corner, because no one wants to talk about because it strikes so close to home. The vast majority of people sitting in pews were educated in public schools, have or had their children in public schools and because of that it can be hard to consider any other solution to educating our children. Consider the entire chapter of Deuteronomy Six, and the emphasis it places on the ways of the Lord...

1 "Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the rules that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, 2 that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey. 4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. 10 "And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you--with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant--and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. 14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you, 15 for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God, lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth. 16 "You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. 17 You shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you. 18 And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the LORD, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers 19 by thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the LORD has promised. 20 "When your son asks you in time to come, 'What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?' 21 then you shall say to your son, 'We were Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 And the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. 24 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. 25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.' (Deut 6: 1-25 ESV)

There is NOTHING more important than our children learning to love and fear the Lord. If your child grows up to be a Doctor but doesn't learn to love Christ, you have failed them. If your child is a Nobel Prize winning physicist, or a captain of industry, or a New York Times bestselling author, any of these and is not taught to the ways of the Lord, you have failed them as a parent.

Dr. Mohler, who it sounds like is a homeschooler himself in a consortium (i.e. a group of homeschool families who gather and teach their children together) also addressed the question of whether Christians are doing the right thing by pulling our children out of public schools. As Dr. Mohler eloquently stated, while Christians should be concerned about the situation in public schools, our first priority must be the education of our children, and (I am inferring this) that influencing the schools should not come at the expense of sacrificing our children. Also, a point that I have often made, the public schools are not value neutral but rather are actively seeking to proselytize our children to a secular worldview. Children of school age, I believe as does Dr. Mohler, are the most vulnerable to peer influencing and are far more likely to be influenced than to be influencers. Also commended is a article Dr. Mohler wrote in 2005 titles "Needed: An Exit Strategy" Well worth the read.

There is a time and place to impact the world at large, but our children are not cannon fodder to charge the entrenched secularists in the public school system. The time is long past that we take a Biblical approach to the topic, and quit letting the world tell us how we should raise our children.