Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Protestantism's False Gospel

Keith Darrell echoes my recent thoughts about the doctrine of Justification by Faith, but from within the context of the Presbyterian church's wranglings over the Federal Vision controversy. His post has prompted me to post about this pet doctrine of Protestants.

In my indoctrination as a Reformed Evangelical Protestant, I've been instructed many times by many sources that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is not only the gospel, not only the central issue on which the very church stands or falls, but also the main theme of the New Testament. Uhmm, no. This doctrine is mentioned maybe three times in Scripture. Okay, two and a half, but I rounded up to be merciful.

As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the center of the gospel, matters of first importance. Justification by faith, while I believe is true, is NOT the gospel, is NOT the doctrine on which the church stands or falls, and it is most certainly NOT the central theme of the New Testament. The Lordship of Christ is the central message of the NT.

"Justification by faith alone" is a reactionary doctrine. It was used in reaction to the Judaizers in the bible who wanted to add circumcision to the requirements for salvation, and it was used in the argument against the medieval Roman church, who, it was believed, added works as a requirement for justification.

Today's postmodern America, where anything and everything goes, is almost by definition certainly not inclined to hold to a works-based salvation religion. They have no idea what we're talking about when we preach justification by faith alone. If you ran for office, would you run with the slogan, "no taxation without representation"? Of course not; it would be irrelevant and you would lose the election. We Protestants are preaching a reaction to something that doesn't exist in our culture. Something that happened 400 years ago on the other side of the world isn't of much interest to today's America. So when we substitute the doctrine of justification by faith alone for the gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, it's no wonder nobody listens. And we thought it was their fault the whole time.

"Impeach The Next President, Too"

...My latest bumper sticker idea.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Evangelicalese Dictionary for Germans

Gene Redlin from Northern Gleaner posted this priceless gem about English speaking German tourists on vacation in the US. Quote:

BONN, Germany — It was becoming a common annoyance. Curious German tourists were visiting evangelical churches in the U.S., and had no idea what was being said. A German travel agency finally issued a 55-page Evangelical-English Dictionary which sells thousands of copies a month to Germans vacationing in the U.S.

Cultural relevance? Nevermind.

Friday, June 22, 2007

MURDER! In the Neighborhood

I drove up on my way home from work today, and the meat wagon, tons of cops and plenty of yellow tape blocked the street about five houses down. Neighbors were out in force and yakking. I knew instantly that it was probably a murder.

The cops are silent, but the one thing they let on to is that it wasn't a home invasion. The rumor mill has a few extra juicy pieces. It's supposedly a 26 yr old male on one account, but another has the cops unable to tell if it's male or female. I don't know how scary to take that. Also a rumor that a dead dog was found, too. But the house was bought about 6 months ago, and I've never met the neighbors. Apparently, the owner wasn't the one killed. It'll be on the news tonight for sure.

[UPDATE:] The homicide made the news, and the camera that shot the crime scene footage was right out in front of our house. The news reported the victim was a 27 yr old male. I also recall being heckled by some kids (late teens/early 20's) a few days ago while jogging past that house.

Zoning Laws (Part 11) Combined With Other Laws (2)

Read entire series here.

Zoning laws can also have a combined effect with other laws such as strict building codes, local building ordinances and building permit processes. Building codes and ordinances make construction more expensive, and the permit process not only adds more cost, but sets a time limit for completion of construction. This adds hidden expense in that a greater amount of money is needed up-front for a project.

The overall effect of all these laws is a higher minimum standard of living. But this standard of living is mandated by law without allowing for the means to attain this standard. People who cannot meet this minimum level created by law sometimes end up homeless. Homelessness is often mandated by law without people knowing that this is the case.

Part 10 . . . . . . . . Part 12

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Baby Update

Blogging has been slow of late. Mrs. Scott is now 8 1/2 months pregnant, and all kinds of fun stuff is going on around here. With the little one expected anytime now, things are a bit different.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Touchy-Feely Christianity

I don't know what it is, but modern evangelicalism contains a lot of touchy-feely things. Even those who generally reject modern types of things hold to these things. I grew up in a family that wasn't big on touchy-feely. We had no group hugs and gush wasn't an emotion we expressed. Swaying back and forth with Bic lighters during a Neil Diamond ballad type of emotion I've never grown to embrace, and I don't like those kinds of things.

A large group of people holding hands during the prayer for a meal? It ain't me. Not into holding hands unless it's my wife or kids. I also hate the electric piano. You know, like in the Styx song "Babe." It gives me the touchy-feely gag type creeps. A lot of contemporary chorus music sung in church or by "Christian" music groups uses the electric piano to yank gush emotion out of you during the song. I don't complain to my church, because I know others are edified by such things. I nearly avoid contemporary Christian music altogether. I've always gotten the impression that it is an artificially forced form of "worship," like from a network marketing scheme telemarketer or something. Grown men swaying back and forth with eyes closed, hands out and palms up in that John Tesh concert at Red Rock that repeats ad infiniteum on late night paid advertising TV that you wake up to after falling asleep on the couch? Pass the Oprah magazine. Ain't me.

And what's with breaking into small groups for prayer that lasts 5 minutes? Especially when it's done as a form of promoting "accountability." I've experienced this in retreats, conferences, bible studies, Sunday school, you name it. Across denominational boundaries and varying church circles. It always takes the same pattern. Groups of four or five, and we never have enough time for each person in our group to pray. There's always at least one complete stranger who I wouldn't tell any of my secrets to anyway. "Time to start wrapping up." But we're only half done because this other person prayed about his life story and wouldn't shut up. Who thought this up anyway? And why would anybody want to repeat it? I always feel like these types of things accomplish nothing. At least for me.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Eminent Domain - The Sin of Jezebel

In my last post, I asked if anybody would name their daughter Jezebel. Well, nobody would because she was one of the most evil, wicked women in all of history. And what was her most notorious sin? The sin of what today is called Eminent Domain (aka compulsory purchase, compulsory acquisition or expropriation in other countries). This is where modern governments use coercion in taking private property away from citizens without their consent. As evil as this practice is, modern Christians hardly speak a word against it, and in many cases whole heartedly support it.

In 1 Kings 21 (read this whole chapter here), the most wicked king in the history of Israel to that day, Ahab, coveted the vineyard of Naboth, his nearest neighbor, for his own use. He even offered Naboth money for it. Naboth refused, citing that even God forbid that his inheritance be parted with. Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, found out and hired false witnesses to testify against him, had him put to death, then took possession of Naboth's land.

In the most bone-chilling verse in this chapter (v. 15), we see an almost exact pattern of the modern state, "...Jezebel said to Ahab, 'Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth, the Jezreelite, which he refused to give to you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead." The state usually offers money in return for property, but if refused, the state takes it anyway. The only difference is that the state only threatens murder via an armed police, whereas Jezebel carried it out. Today, the state bears false witness in court against those who refuse the state's condescending offers.

As a result of this, God brought down judgment upon Ahab and Jezebel. Read the further accounts in 2 Kings 9, here and here. The final judgment upon Jezebel is this: "This is the word of the LORD, which He spoke by His servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 'In the property of Jezreel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel; and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as dung on the face of the field in the property of Jezreel, so they cannot say, "This is Jezebel."'"

This is a horrific thing to think about with respect to today's politicians that play games with Jezebel's abomination. May they hear this, repent, and do good before God.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Would You Name Your Daughter "Jezebel"?

It's fun to pick out names for a baby that will soon be born. Especially for a girl. Even though my wife is pregnant with a boy, we picked out a girl's name before we knew the gender. The last girl's name we would ever choose is Jezebel. I'm sure that's the case with most people.

But why? What's so bad about Jezebel? Just the name itself conjures up thoughts of dastardly evil. It is a name used to defame a woman to the lowest level possible. It is one of the harshest remarks possible, and imputes the sleaziest of whoredoms, oozing with the most depraved and vile form of wickedness. Would you name your daughter Jezebel?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Was the Apostle Paul the Rich Young Ruler?

Last January, I wrote a brief post wondering where Saul of Tarsus (later the apostle Paul) was during Jesus' earthly ministry and crucifixion. He was present at Stephen's stoning which means, in the historical timeline of the book of Acts, that he was almost surely alive during His ministry. He was schooled by Gamaliel, and he was a Pharisee, so he would have been familiar with the happenings in Jerusalem. I wondered if he could have been the rich young ruler spoken of in the gospels.

Well tonight at our bible study, we looked at Matthew 19's account (read Matthew 19:16-30 here) in the context of God's seemingly "unfair" system of rewards with the first being last and the last first. It struck me that he would have been the last of the apostles, but first in fame and writer of more NT material than the rest. He was known as the apostle to the Gentiles. When He told His disciples that it was hard for a rich man to enter heaven, they wondered who could enter. Jesus said that with God, all things are possible.

He could have been prophesying about this man right on the spot without any of them knowing it. If this were Paul, the rest of them would have come to know him later on. Paul would fit the rest of this passage, too. He would be one of the twelve who sat on a throne, he was rich, a young ruler. His rejection by Christ because of his covetous heart toward material things could have triggered a resentment toward Him. He went away grieving, but that could have turned to malice and persecution of those who were followers. Of course, all this is speculative reading between the lines. Maybe some archaeologist will dig something up on this someday. Until then...

Read Part 2 and Part 3

Ron Paul For god - and - Libertarian Fearmongers

Two topics lumped into one short post. Okay, Ron Paul won't win the election in 2008. But his running for president is bound to bring up some much needed discussion on topics that have been left under the rug. Some people, it seems, are so enraptured with him that they are ready to thrust him past the presidency and into the position of God. A little less Ron Paul worship, please.

Some libertarian writers are really no different from the fearmongers of other ideological persuasions. Whether from no-nukes, neo-cons, environmentalists or religious fundamentalists. Yes, we know that the state is dangerous and commits many evil acts, but the idea that the state will plunge us into a totalitarian abyss of hell in just a few short years is taking things a bit far. A little more optimism, please.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Jewish Rabbi Against National Israel and Zionism

A friend sent me a YouTube clip (approx. 4 min.) of a Jewish Rabbi who opposes the existence of the nation of Israel and the "false" religion of Zionism. He claims that the Jews, Muslims and Christians have lived in peace in the Middle East for years, and only the phenomenon of Zionism has created the huge problems there in recent decades. I've heard things like this before. There is a Jewish community in Iran and has also been Jewish member of the Iranian Parliament.

It makes me question even more the US involvement in the Middle East and the bizarre eschatalogical doctrines found in dispensational pre-millenialism.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

WWII Bombers Overhead

When I was a kid I loved watching World War II documentaries. I was fascinated by the war as history and loved the "conventional" (i.e. pre-nuclear, pre-jet, pre-electronic technology) aspect of it. I was particularly interested in allied bombers.

This last week, a group of touring, restored WWII bombers have been flying out of our local airport. Occasionally, maybe annually, this group of bombers comes to our area. This year, a B-25, a B-24 and a B-17 are featured. You can take tours of the planes, and for $425 you can fly in one. Our house is within a few hundred yards of the flight pattern on the last loop before landing. They also fly close to the freeway down to where I work, so I've seen them several mornings on my drive in. Today, they've been flying overhead all day.

The noise they make is awesome. It's hard to imagine thousands of them at a time flying out of England on their way to Germany. While typing, a B-17 (my favorite) just flew low over head just a few blocks away. Whoa!

Zoning Laws (Part 10) Combined With Other Laws

Read entire series here.

Zoning laws are combined with other laws to create some more road blocks to freedom. Tax laws are frequently used along with zoning laws to create excessive incomes for governments to play with. Property is re-zoned according to the amount of tax money that is projected for governments to receive. Property taxes are often used to fund public schools. Sales taxes also act as an incentive for governments to re-zone property as commercial. Eminent domain laws are used to confiscate private property in the re-zoning process without regard to private property rights.

Part 9 . . . . . . . . Part 11