Friday, August 31, 2007

For Crown and Covenant

In my opinion the Scottish Covenanters were among the greatest heroes of the faith. Purves tells of men who would rather die than say, "God save the King." They differed from their Puritan Cousins whereas the Puritans resisted Stuart Tyranny because it trampled on the rights of English Free-men. The Covenanters resisted Stuart Tyranny because it trampled on the Crown Rights of King Jesus and his church.
Purves was a mid-20th century Scotsman who wrote for Scotsmen; so a little background study before reading the book would be helpful. The theme is thus: King Charles II was restored to the English throne and sought to force the Scottish Presbyterians to prelacy and Episcopal worship. The Scots refused. Charles II made it illegal for Scottish ministers to perform their duty (I am simplifying for the sake of time). The Scots responded by worshipping outdoors. Charles thought that these "coventicles" were armed uprisings so he sent troops to quell them. The Scots out of desperation began to arm themselves for worship; that's when the story gets good. Feed your faith on stories of good courage. Here the tale of Richard Cameron--"The Lion of the Covenant"--who died praying and fighting against Christ's enemies. For a more in-depth study see John Howie's *The Scots Worthies.*

In my opinion the Scottish Covenanters were among the greatest heroes of the faith. Purves tells of men who would rather die than say, "God save the King." They differed from their Puritan Cousins whereas the Puritans resisted Stuart Tyranny because it trampled on the rights of English Free-men. The Covenanters resisted Stuart Tyranny because it trampled on the Crown Rights of King Jesus and his church.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Communist has Second Thoughts

The great historian professor Eugene Genovese was an open Marxist for much of his career. By the mid 90s, however, he was having his doubts. He writes,
Having scoffed at the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount we ended a seventy year experiment with socialism with little more to our credit than tens of millions of corpses. HOw could we have survived politically were it not for the countless liberals who, to one extent or another, supported us, apparently under the delusion that we were social reformers in to big of a hurry--a delusion we ourselves never suffered from.

The horrors did not arise from perversions of a radical ideology but from the ideology itself. We were led into complicity with mass murder and the desecration of our professed ideals not by Stalinist or other corruptions of high ideals...but by a deep flaw in our understanding of human nature--its frailty and possibilities--and by our inability to replace the moral and ethical baseline provided by the religion we dismissed with indifference, not to say contempt.[/QUOTE]

[U]The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History[/U], p.161

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Labour and the "Manliness of Soul"

For the godly man, work is a delight and often provides godly manliness.

History shows also, than an artificial and luxurious mode of living surely affects the literary taste of a nation. The simplicity of thought is banished. The manliness of soul which proceeds from labor, struggles with difficulty and intercourse with nature, becomes rare.
R.L. Dabney, "Simplicity of Pulpit Style," Discussions vol. 3, page. 81.

Indeed, Rushdoony would go on to say,

A basic and unrecognized cause of tensions in marriage is the growing futility of work in an age where apostate and statist trends rob work of its constructive goals. The area of man's dominion becomes the area of man's frustration. There are those who can recall when men, not too many years ago, worked ten hours or more daily, six and seven days a week, often under ugly and unsafe circumstances. In the face of this, they could rest and also enjoy life with a robust appetite. The basic optimism of that era and the cer¬tainty of progress, the stability of a hard money economy, and the sense of mastery in these assurances, gave men a satisfaction in their labors which made rest possible

The Institutes of Biblical Law, p. 346.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Suffering and Joy of Christ-thrilled souls

This is from Fair Sunshine,

There was no fear of faith in those "Christ-thrilled souls" and they triumphed over every power that could be brought against them. They overcame the world by their faith.

King, Parliament, Church and Army, all heard afresh and clear that "the bleeding remnant" would obey God rather than men, and live, and die if need be, for the Crown Rights of their Redeemer. It is quite clear that Renwick both wrote the Second Declaration of Sanquhar and proclaimed it: "Let King Jesus reign, and all His enemies be scattered."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Calvinists not fatalists

As Calvinists we hold to the decree of a Personal being; fate, on the other hand, is merely the connection of impersonal causes and effects.

I got this gem from W.G.T. Shedd's Dogmatic Theology, new edition, page 322.

Friday, August 17, 2007

R.L. Dabney and the Rising of Virginia

This is from Dabney's biography on Stonewall Jackson.

But when the tyrant tried the perilous experiment, he was startled by a result as unexpected as that which followed the touch of Ithuriel's spear. She, whom he thought a patient, hesitating, helpless paralytic, flamed up at the insolent touch, like a pyramid of fire, and Virginia stood forth again in her immortal youth, the unterrified Commonwealth of 1776, a Minerva radiant with the terrible glories of policy and war, wielding that sword which has ever flashed before the eyes or her aggressors, the Sic semper Tyrannis.... Hence, except in the breast of a few traitors, there was now but one mind and one heart in Virginia. In one week, the whole State was converted into a camp, and the gauntlet of deathless resistance was flung back with high disdain.

p. 157

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

George Washington's Sacred Fire

Dr Lillback gives us a masterful display of Christian historiography.

Thesis: George Washington was neither a Deist nor a modern Fundamentalist Evangelical. Rather, he was an orthodox Latitudinarian within the Anglican church. This means that while he did not have the outward, expressive, emotional zeal of 20th century counterparts, he did have a real faith in a Personal Triune God, and sucha faith did inform his public policies and inspire commitments.

Critics object that Washington never referred to Jesus; refused to partake of the Lord's Supper, and among other things, used Deistic language. Lillback skillfully rebuts all claims:

(1) Washington did refer to Jesus, and those who say otherwise just ignore several letters where he recommends "the author of our Faith" (a reference to Christ in the book of Hebrews), and the religion of Jesus to the Indians. Also, Washington didn't like to speak of himself at all. It is not the case that he refused to speak of his Faith. Rather, he refused to speak of Washington.

(2) It is true at times that Washington refused to take communion, but a number of points need to be made: a) this was not like the modern, high church Episcopalism. Due to the lack of ministers, and the frontier nature of the church, congregations would celebrate communion only a few times a year. Given that other evidence shows Washington took communion, this objection is actually a strong argument for Washington's faith: it is only a few times that Washington actually missed communion!

(3) Did Washington use Deistic language? I think we can answer no on two counts. Dr Lillback shows that terms that Deists use were actually Christian terms that were subsequently stripped of their orthodox meaning. Therefore (2) if he used Deistic language, his lifestyle and other references indicate that he did not mean by it the same thing Deists meant by it.

This book is a monster! Over 200 pages of valuable endnotes. Reading Washington's letters is quite devotional and reading of his struggles is inspiring. Was Washington a practicing Christian? I leave on the following count: Given the nightmare and stress of Valley Forge, wouldn't it make sense if Washington indeed got down on his knees and prayed?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Stardust: Movie Review

I saw "Stardust" this weekend. All in all it was a delightful fairy-tale fantasy film. The characters, while at times dense, were fun and enjoyable all the same. Tristan, the hero, crosses a barrier and finds himself in another world. There he finds what a real falling star is, and the difference between conditional and unconditional love.

The heroes in the movie do not conquer by force of arms, per se (although there are some delightfully good swashbuckling scenes), but by....well, you will see.

A few caveats:
There is one implied scene of immorality, but you don't see anything. A guy meets a girl at a fair. The door closes. The next screen has a man handing him a baby. The next screen skips 18 years. So it sets up the story but doesn't sully the movie.

There is another scene that is open to interpretation as to what happened. I, personally, do not think anything happened, but I can't prove it either way.

On a good note, the cinematography was quite good. The final scene reached crescendo-like qualities. Caveats acknowledge, I recommend this movie.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Future Topics

I said I would talk about why I moved to historic premillennialism. I do want to talk about that, but I don't want to seem like one of those guys who does nothing but talk about eschatology. So I am holding off on the moment.

I found some old John Owen works that I would like to eventually study: The Mortification of Sin and Display of Arminianism. I have read most of the Death of Death in the Death of Christ.

Tonight I read Robert Reymond on God's Eternal Plan of Salvation. By and large it was well-written. I am not persuaded as of yet his supralapsarianism, but he made a good case.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Nihilism or the Nazarene

CS Lewis made a chilling observation:

If you dip into any college, or school, or parish, or family – anything you like – at a given point in its history, you always find that there was a time before that point when there was more elbow room and contrast weren’t quite so sharp; and that there’s going to be a time after that point when there is even less room for indecision and choices are even more momentous. Good is always getting better and bad is always getting worse: the possibilities of even apparent neutrality are always diminishing. The whole thing is sorting itself out all the time, coming to a point, getting sharper and harder.

A good example of this is the movie culture. It has become extremely banal. If you have the stomach, walk down the aisles of the "New Releases" at the movie rental place. We come to expect the sexual aspect--and that's bad enough--but many of these new movies are engaging in horror and gore that is unthinkable.

It is "Fight Club" versus "Narnia." Fight Club is the paramount movie of the postmodern age. There is no meaning--only brutality.

It is as Carl Henry said, "We will either have Nihilism or the Nazarene."

Monday, August 06, 2007

More apologetics in action

Scroll down to reply # 18. My handle is Liberalism's Worst Nightmare. This was a lot of fun.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fictional dialogues with a sceptic

This is for an assignment, and I am having fun with it. Carl is a reference to the great Carl F H Henry. Madeline is a reference to Madeline Murray O'Hare.

Morality of Knowledge (Epistemology)

Carl: I will hold that unless you maintain biblical revelation, you have no foundation for knowledge or ethics.
Madeline: I have problems with that statement.
Carl: I gathered as much. Go on.
Madeline: For one, you begged the question. Two, unbelievers do have knowledge and live ethically, and three, you Christians don’t live up to that statement.
Carl: I agree with you on all three points.
Madeline: What?
Carl: Your objections just proved my point.
Madeline: How?
Carl: Our time tonight is short. Can I just focus on the knowledge statement?
Madeline: Sure.

Carl: I will open tonight with a discussion on epistemology: the theory of knowledge.
Madeline: That sounds rather abstract.
Carl: Stay with me—whatever we say later on will be determined by what we establish or fail to establish at this point.
Madeline: Ok, fine. What are you getting at?
Carl: In short—and I know you will have objections to this—I believe in God and his word based on a higher authority than myself.
Madeline: Oh, let me guess—you believe in the Bible because God says so?
Carl: It’s a bit more than that. Before I answer your question—and I will give you an opportunity to cross-examine me, can I ask you a few questions as well?
Madeline: Ok, I’ll bite.
Carl: We all have ultimate authorities—
Madeline: Wait, you mean absolutes! I don’—
Carl: Just let me finish. That’s not what I am getting at, although we will discuss that later. I will ask you a question: What is your authority?
Madeline: I don’t have any authorities. I am free, independent.
Carl: What do you believe in, then? If not God, then what?
Madeline: I believe in reason; I believe that people should be free to live how they want as long as it doesn’t hurt others.
Carl: That’s a good, clear answer. Your answer actually demonstrated your worldview.
Madeline: There goes that religious jargon again.
Carl: No, I was giving you a compliment. Few people can state their worldview so clearly and succinctly.
Madeline: So you think I am right?
Carl: No, you have a naïve epistemology and your ethical system avoids the hard questions.
Madeline: So now you will engage in name-calling?
Carl: No, that’s not my point.
Madeline: Can we get back to your original discussion? You were going to tell me how “I believe the bible because the bible tells me so” isn’t question-begging.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Why I changed eschatology

I used to hold to theonomic postmillennialism. Recently, I have come to embrace historic premillennialism. (For the record, my views on theonomy haven't changed all that much). What made me change? I might do a series of posts on why I changed my eschatological positions.

Friday, August 03, 2007

dodging the impasse between dispensationalism and covenant theology

Thesis: The church doesn't replace Israel; Jesus does.

Every spiritual blessing was won by Christ. The new testament says these blessings are "in him," and if we are in Christ, then they belong to us. All the promises of the Old Testament now apply and are fulfilled in Christ. Therefore, if we are united to Christ, then they are ours! The kingdom that God promised his people in the Old Testament is not some fuzzy, spiritual reality now-called the church. No, the kingdom is given to Christ and we, the church, experience it through him! (Moore, 119). And what does the resurrected Jesus inherit? He inherits the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Acts 13:32-33)

The NT applies to Jesus language previously applied to Israel (Ex. 4.22; Matthew 2.15). So Jesus replaces Israel, not the church.

So it's not the church that replaces Israel, but Jesus that replaces Israel--and the church by union in Christ share and inherit these blessings (heirs with God, fellow heirs with Jesus Christ).

Baby apologetics in action

I love debating liberals. Atheists are clever. Mormons and Catholics are slippery because they have competing revelation-claims. Liberals just don't know what to say.

My username: Liberalism's Worst Nightmare

See here:

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Without Holiness, Hope Dies

David Wells has a striking quote,

For in the end God's holiness will prove to be the final line of resistance to all that is wrong, all that is evil in the world. The day is coming when truth will be placed forever on the throne, and error forever on the scaffold.

For without holiness there is no drama and there is no hope. Hope dies when it can no longer see through this vale of tears to the triumph of God's sovereign goodness on the other side.

God in the Wasteland, 142